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Doping cases in filing cabinets

Doping cases in filing cabinets

Halfway through 2012 the Spanish National Sports Council received a letter from WADA, complaining that no information had been received in respect of some 80 doping cases since 2008. WADA knew about the adverse testing results, but not the outcomes of the cases.

Spanish anti-doping agencies

Back then the organisation of the anti-doping fight in Spain was incomprehensibly divided. On the one hand was the theoretically independent AEA (State Anti-doping Agency), now renamed AEPSAD (Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport). On the other was the Spanish Commission on the Control and Monitoring of Health and the Fight against Doping in Sport, affiliated to the National Sports Council. To top it all off, it was the individual sports federations that had the power to punish the athletes. Each one of the two institutions named an individual to arrange the crazy situation: and so there were cases that couldn't be brought because the statute of limitations had kicked in, others that hadn't been communicated correctly, while the majority were simply forgotten in the filing cabinets.

Cardenal shook things up

Miguel Cardenal, who took over as president of the National Sports Council at the start of 2012, took the situation seriously. The then deputy director general for health and sport, José Luis Terreros, was sidelined from his job and put to work on other matters. His right-hand woman, Miriam Pallarés, was dismissed. But under the current law the powers now reside with AEPSAD, run by none other than Terreros.

Saiz, Belda and Labarta cases outstanding

Once Operación Puerto closed, the Spanish Cycling Federation offered the agency the files on Manolo Saiz, Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, which should be re-opened in order for a conclusion on them to be reached, now that the final sentence in the Operación Puerto legal case has been handed down. During the trial it was shown that doping was carried out, with enough proof to levy punishments, at administrative rather than criminal level. There has been contact between lawyers from the Spanish Cycling Federation and AEPSAD, but with no solution in sight. Let's hope the cases don't end up back in the filing cabinet.

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