The World Anti-Doping Agency released a clarification on its stance on the banned substance clenbuterol following a flurry of media reports that hit the web Wednesday.
WADA’s science director Dr. Olivier Rabin was quoted by wire services while speaking at a symposium on doping detection.
“There are very few cases of clenbuterol so it’s not impossible to handle on a case-by-case basis,” Rabin was quoted by Reuters. “We could make recommendations to the WADA executive committee to say over some level it’s definitely doping, and at another level it could be further consideration in a context of previous results or future results of the athlete.”
Those comments were picked up by other media outlets, particularly in Spain, where headlines Thursday in national dailies suggested it was an indication that Alberto Contador might be cleared in his ongoing clenbuterol case.
Contador continues to insist that traces of the banned anabolic were found in his system during last year’s Tour after eating contaminated steaks brought to France from Spain.
WADA officials released a media statement clarifying its position on clenbuterol, writing “at present there is no plan to introduce a threshold level for clenbuterol.”
WADA also confirmed that it is “possible that under certain circumstances the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination.”
Officials said that the clenbuterol issue will likely be discussed at a meeting next week, but cautioned that any changes in its status would not be introduced until 2012 at the earliest.
Contador, meanwhile, plans to race the Tour next month despite having his clenbuterol case still before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. A hearing scheduled for June has been delayed until August, opening the door for Contador’s Tour participation.
WADA also said it will “refrain from making any further comment regarding clenbuterol until the review process has been completed.”
The WADA statement in full
Following current media interest in relation to clenbuterol, WADA wishes to clarify the following:
1. Clenbuterol is a prohibited substance and there is no threshold under which this substance is not prohibited.
2. At present there is no plan to introduce a threshold level for clenbuterol.
3. It is possible that under certain circumstances the presence of a low level of clenbuterol in an athlete sample can be the result of food contamination. However, each case is different and all elements need to be taken into account.
4. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, result management of cases foresees the opportunity for an athlete to explain how a prohibited substance entered his/her body.
5. Next week, WADA laboratory experts will meet, as they do regularly, and amongst others issues will discuss the situation with regards to clenbuterol. No decision will be taken at this meeting and any recommendation will then be reviewed and discussed at the WADA Health, Medical and Research Committee in view of the preparation of the 2012 List.
6. The power to take a decision and to adopt the 2012 List is vested to the WADA Executive Committee, composed equally of the Sport Movement and Governments, that will meet in September.