WADA chief criticises Puerto outcome

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(AFP) – 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 indeed ordered them to be destroyed pending appeals from those parties involved.

“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’ 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 May 17.

“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

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

“All I can say is that I want to continue to work on this. For me, Operation Puerto is not over,” the director of AEA, Ana Munoz, told a press conference on Tuesday.

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