SAO PAULO, March 9 (Reuters) - Brazil will not risk being kicked out of their own Olympic Games and is confident of passing key anti-doping legislation before next week’s deadline, the country’s anti-doping authority told Reuters on Wednesday.
With the Olympics starting in Rio in August, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) set a March 18 deadline for Brazil to be in accordance with the organization’s doping rules.
“There are only five working days to make it happen but it will happen,” said Marco Aurelio Klein, the national secretary of the Brazilian Anti-Doping Authority.
“I am sure we will do it because there is no alternative. It is of fundamental importance for us to host the Olympic Games.”
Brazil was warned last November it must bring its sporting justice system in line with WADA guidelines.
Currently, state and national courts hear anti-doping cases but under WADA rules such cases must be heard by an independent specialised tribunal.
Brazil has new legislation ready but the government will likely pass a decree rather than a law because there is so little time left for debate, Klein said.
Although authorities have been discussing the changes since before November, Klein said the Christmas recess, followed by the southern hemisphere’s summer holidays and annual carnival celebrations robbed them of at least half of the 120 days they had to work with.
“These four months had a different impact in different countries,” Klein said. “In Brazil, the 120 days was probably closer to 50 days.”
While the new system must be in place by March 18, international officials refuse to countenance the idea that South America’s first host nation could be banned from its own games if it does not meet the deadline.
“Realistically speaking I wouldn’t think so,” Dick Pound, chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission, told Reuters when asked about that possibility.
“To do away with the host country? In the real world I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Brazil’s preparations are often last minute. Half the stadiums built for the 2014 World Cup were delivered late and much of the promised infrastructure was never delivered at all. (Editing by Frank Pingue)