WADA considers appeal after ruling in Puerto case
MONTREAL (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency is considering whether to appeal the verdict of a Spanish court which ordered the destruction of evidence in the Operation Puerto doping case.
WADA director general David Howman said the doping agency was reviewing its options with its Spanish legal advisers before the May 17 deadline for appeals in the case.
“The decision to order the destruction of the blood bags is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory for ... the whole anti-doping community,” Howman said in a statement.
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was convicted Tuesday and given a one-year suspended jail sentence, barred from medical practice in sports for four years and ordered to pay a $6,000 fine.
Judge Julia Santamaria said more than 100 blood bags seized seven years ago when police raided Fuentes’ clinics in Madrid should be destroyed. That would rule out any possible investigations by officials of WADA and Spain’s national anti-doping body, who have said they want to examine the bags to identify all the athletes involved. Santamaria said Spain’s privacy laws prevented the availability of the blood bags.
Several prominent cyclists have been identified in the scandal. Fuentes testified he had clients from other sports, including soccer, tennis, boxing and track, but they were not identified.
Operation Puerto implicated more than 50 cyclists, only a few of whom have been sanctioned for cheating. No cyclists were on trial because doping was not an offense in 2006 when police raided Fuentes’ clinics and laboratories. Spain has since passed anti-doping legislation, with an even stricter anti-doping bill to be voted on by parliament this summer.