WADA, IOC criticises Puerto outcome

cycling, doping, IOC, WADA, Spain, Operation Puerto, Eufemiano Fuentes
Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operation Puerto (AAP)

The Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) David Howman has criticised the decision of the judge in the Operation Puerto trial to not release over 200 blood bags for inspection.

Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was given a one year suspended sentence on Tuesday for endangering public health in the way he performed blood extractions and transfusions on a number of high-profile cyclists.

However, Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria did not release the blood bags seized from properties belonging to Fuentes in 2006 and ordered them to be destroyed pending appeals from those parties involved.

Spain's own national anti-doping agency has already declared its intention to appeal the decision not to release the bags.

"The decision to order the destruction of all the blood bags is particularly disappointing and unsatisfactory for WADA, and the whole anti-doping community," said a statement from Howman published on the WADA website.

"Access to this evidence motivated WADA's involvement in this case. This would ensure appropriate sports sanction processes against the cheats who used Dr Fuentes's services. The Court did consider that his conduct was a crime against public health.

"WADA is currently fully reviewing the decision and any possible appeal or other action with its Spanish legal advisors, and the Spanish National Anti-Doping Organisation (AEA)."

The deadline to appeal the case is 17 May.

"WADA will not make any further comment about this case until that date."

The case is also expected to damage Madrid's bid to be the host city of the 2020 Olympics Games and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) also reacted angrily to the decision on Wednesday.

"It is unfortunate that the evidence used in this proceeding is not now being made available to anti-doping organisations to further the fight against doping," the IOC said in a statement.

"We unreservedly condemn the actions of anyone involved in providing athletes with an unfair advantage through doping."

The IOC said that while it was constantly fighting the scourge of performance-enhancing substances, the Spanish case had shown the importance of cooperation from "a large range of stakeholders including public authorities."

"We understand, however, that the Spanish government is moving to approve anti-doping legislation in parliament that would bring Spain in line with the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code and the UNESCO Convention against doping in sport and we express hope that this will lead to greater cooperation with anti-doping organisations in the future."

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