Believe it or not, quality management is playing a rather important role in one of the most topical issues in sporting events these days… showing the importance of doing things ‘by the book’ when it comes to drug testing. If this headline had you scratching your head a bit, you can be forgiven for not seeing the link between these seemingly at-odds things. Most people think of quality processes as firmly stuck in the corporate world, discussed by management and maybe HR consultants. The reality however is that quality affects just about everything in our world – from the food we eat to the products we buy, and even the sporting events we watch. The news recently of a Olympics drug testing lab in Russia (the host country for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games) being suspended over poor quality management measures shows just how important quality has become in every facet of life. But what does this mean for major sporting events?
How Does Quality Management Affect Drug Testing in Sports?
The organisation that is responsible for testing at such events is WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), and it is this group who have come down heavily on the Moscow Antidoping Centre. With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, the suspension of the host country’s primary testing centre is somewhat worrying to say the least. The testing centre will need to show that they have developed a suitable quality management system in order to avoid permanent suspension. WADA has given the International Olympic Committee recommendations to take suitable actions in order to ensure that the drug testing analysis at the Moscow lab is fair and accurate. Quality control is the most effective route in achieving this goal, providing a clear set of standards that need to be met to ensure compliance. Part of the overall WADA quality process involves blind samples sent to accredited labs, which give insight into whether or not each lab is able to provide accurate results. It goes without saying that incorrect results can have massive effects on sporting stars and their Olympic standing. In the case of the Moscow lab, the results of the blind tests were found to be inaccurate – presenting quite a challenge this close to the Winter Olympics. How this all plays out is of course a matter for WADA and the Olympics Committee. But for us regular folks, it is a very interesting look into the ever-growing demand for quality management, proving that no industry can afford to overlook standards.