MADRID: Spain’s notoriety as a soft touch when it comes to sports doping has taken another hit from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
WADA, the global authority when it comes to the issue of drug testing in sport, declared Spain’s anti-doping agency (AEPSAD) as non-compliant in March 2016.
It had hoped FIFA or UEFA could take over the country’s drug testing in the meantime but no agreement was struck. This means that La Liga has not conducted one valid doping test this season.
A WADA statement said: “It will do little to instil confidence in clean sport at a time when it is needed most.”
Following the ruling over AEPSAD, a Wada-accredited laboratory in Madrid was suspended in June and was prohibited “from carrying out any Wada-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples”.
WADA added: “The lack of testing in a country with one of the leading football leagues worldwide for a period of almost 12 months is alarming.”
During the period of non-compliance, Wada said it “encouraged” AEPSAD and International Sport Federations (IFs) to arrange that “testing would be carried out on national level athletes in Spain during the period of non-compliance”.
However, this did not happen, prompting Wada to bemoan a “deeply disappointing” move which “prevented effective anti-doping programs from being run at the national level in Spain in a number of sports” during this period of non-compliance.
Aepsad released a statement on Thursday to defend its position:
“The exceptional political situation that Spain has survived in the last few months has prevented the implication of Law 3/2013, necessary for fulfilling the Spanish anti-doping rules and the World Anti-Doping code…
“With respect to the absence of anti-doping testing in Spanish football, Aepsad proposed to FIFA and UEFA, at the behest of WADA, the signing of an agreement in order that one of these international federations would take over the testing in Spanish football while Aepsad was non-compliant.
“Both federations declined to sign the agreement on the understanding that FIFA was limited to international football, while UEFA felt that they were limited to football clubs participating in its competitions. Therefore, no agreement was signed and no international federation would assume the responsibility for anti-doping tests in Spanish football.”