Photo via Elgrafico Diario.

Following Russia’s suspension from international sporting events due to its noncompliance with anti-doping regulation, Argentina has fallen under the gaze of the all-seeing eye, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for not meeting the standards of its world code.

WADA, which works with governments to regulate anti-doping, has concluded that Argentina falls short of the nation’s National Anti-Doping Organization (ONA) for failing to use accredited laboratories to test blood and urine in order to detect performance-enhancing drugs.

The good news is that WADA has no authority over the sanctioning of Argentina’s athletes or sports federations; the bad news is that it has some major influence when it comes to the world of international sports.

Such is the reason that Argentina may want to take this issue seriously and act with haste. In case you are thinking, Psh! None of this shit ever gets taken seriously, then think again. Going back to Russia, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended all Russian athletes and federations indefinitely on Friday after a WADA report. Now those athletes will miss out on the World Indoors Championships taking place from March 17-20 in Portland, Oregon.

This is the road that Argentina is heading down if it doesn’t clean up its act, like a pot-smoking teenager. And while money is an issue for a teenager trying to acquire dope, it’s over the matter of detecting dope that Argentina finds itself short.

The way that WADA is able to keep surveillance on the international sports community is through laboratories within each country. In Argentina’s case, this takes place at the National Center of High Performance Athletics, or CeNARD. WADA has suspended all operations for not meeting its laboratory standards (equipment, procedures, etc.) – which by the way are quite costly.

Photo via Clarín.
Photo via Clarín.

Because of the high cost of maintaining labs, CeNARD head Hugo Rodriguez Papini explained Argentina had been sending its athletes’ blood and urine samples abroad to countries like Spain, Cuba and Colombia, where the samples could be processed in accredited labs.

However, WADA senior manager Rob Koehler tells a different story, claiming that no Argentine samples had been sent abroad for testing, lately, and that the tests had been conducted on Argentine soil, in unaccredited labs.

Koehler claims the government and ONA have not been meeting the global standards and, at the end of the day, should probably invest in doing so.

Photo via La Nacion.
Photo via La Nacion.

The longer ONA waits on fixing this issue, the closer a ticking-time bomb, or the IAAF, may come to impose similar suspensions on Argentina as it did on Russia.

Although Argentina has not been plagued by high-profile doping cases in recent history, the occasional case certainly crops up. Racing midfielder Brian Fernández was sanctioned for a year after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs during the Copa Libertadores this year.

The most famous Argentine doping case, however, remains Diego Maradona, who was famously escorted off the field by a nurse after a 1994 game in order to be tested. He, predictably, came out positive.