UK Anti-Doping insists it will not release Mo Farah samples for Wada inquiry into athletes trained by Alberto Salazar

Ben Rumsby
Ukad's chief executive said the organisation will not 'risk samples that we hold in storage' - AFP

UK Anti-Doping is ready to fight any attempt by the World Anti-Doping Agency to seize its stock of Sir Mo Farah’s urine and blood samples during an investigation into athletes trained by his disgraced former coach.

The chief executive of Ukad, Nicole Sapstead, said she would block the release of samples stored for future retesting unless there was “credible evidence” to suggest they contained banned substances.

Before the end of his tenure as Wada president, Sir Craig Reedie announced a probe into those athletes to have worked with Alberto Salazar, which he said would include finding “samples we can retest”.

Ukad refused a request to hand over those it held for Farah during the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into Salazar, who has lodged an appeal against the four-year ban he was handed in October for doping offences.

Britain’s anti-doping agency said at the time that retesting risked degrading samples which are stored for up to 10 years for testing using new detection methods.

Insisting Ukad was “not going to risk samples that we hold in storage”, Sapstead said on Friday: “If the police come in here and say, ‘I want to rummage around because I have this evidence to suggest that your purse is in this handbag’, please, help yourself. Come and have a look in my handbag.

“The reason we put samples into storage is to enable us to retest when the science moves along. And so, every time we open a sample up to look at something, we lose the ability to maybe look for something else, which is why, if somebody wants to reanalyse a sample, it needs to be with foundation.”

Asked whether Wada had the power to seize Farah’s samples, Sapstead replied: “My view is any sample that is collected by UK Anti-Doping is the possession of UK Anti-Doping.”

Farah has never failed a drugs test and has always strenuously denied taking banned substances.

Speaking at the launch of a report by Ukad into Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs, Sapstead also defended the agency’s decision not to charge Dr Richard Freeman until the end of his medical tribunal.

Freeman has admitted lying to a Ukad investigation into the ordering of banned product Testogel while working for British Cycling and Team Sky.

His explosive tribunal has been adjourned until potentially the end of October but Sapstead said Ukad had made the decision to avoid “undermining” the General Medical Council case against him.