By Antonio J. Salmerón
"The revision of the Code is necessary. We must work for the athlete in areas such as scientific certainty and legal security," President of Spain's Superior Council of Sports (CSD) Jaime Lissavetzky said in an interview published today by El País regarding the upcoming anti-doping conference in Madrid, November 15. He represents a country that was at the centre of one of cycling's largest investigation, Operación Puerto.
"There has been built a very useful model, but sometimes inflexible," he continued on how anti-doping laws have changed in the Iberian Peninsula. "We must find the balance between flexibility and efficiency. It is a relevant discussion beyond the case [Andrey] Kashechkin. We want to be against doping in sport and protect the health of the athlete, but also respect their fundamental rights, as contained in the anti-doping law in Spain."
The legal aspects in Spain have moved slowly due to a lack of previously existing anti-doping laws in the past. "The law marks a turning point, and I am pleased with its development because it was not simple; it involves four ministries, decrees needed development ... We have already set up two committees, health and doping, which have already launched athlete health cards", Lissavetzky assured.
"Through the National Plan for Research, and only in 2005 and 2006, 12 doping research projects were funded with €1.9 million: genetic doping detection of EPO, synthetic hormones ... In 2006, Spain has been made more than 10,000 inspections, including the 42 to 43 percent out of competition. In cycling, for example, there have been more than 2,000 doping controls and more than 700 for health, which has cost us more than €200,000," Lissavetzky justified the anti-doping fighting in Spain.
"Let no one think that there are magic solutions. ... I will continue to implement the principle of zero tolerance for doping," he concluded.
International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid will also be present for the anti-doping conference.