Spanish Sports Minister vows to fight doping problems

Contador ban has dented country's reputation

Spain's Minister for Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert, has used a public forum on Spanish society to speak out on what he sees as a problem with the doping issues that are permeating Spanish sport. Alberto Contador's two-year sanction by CAS for his positive clenbuterol test, which was announced last week, has heightened controversy levels surrounding sport in Spain and Wert has decided to talk publicly on the matter and how Spanish sport as a whole can start the healing process.

"We have a problem with doping and that's why we have every intention of making sure Spain's anti-doping law conforms with WADA's anti-doping code," he said.

The Contador case illustrated the gulf between WADA and the that of the Spanish Cycling Federation, which had decided not to suspend the three-time Tour de France winner following his positive test for clenbuterol in July 2010. WADA and the UCI appealed that decision to CAS and last week the court ruled against the cyclist and sanctioned him for two years.

Rumours that Spanish sport in general is unclean have been circulating for years and the latest controversy surrounded the general state of Spanish sport, fuelled by the Contador case, has seen a French television show ruthlessly satire Spanish athletes including Contador and star tennis player Rafael Nadal. The row between the two countries has escalated to the point where the Spanish cycling and tennis federations are suing the television channel responsible, according to the AP.

"I'm more motivated than ever to clean up Spain's image," Nadal said. "Spanish sport is characterized by sacrifice, humility and spirit of overcoming adversity that all athletes have.You can't accuse someone of something you have no proof of, even if it's humorous. France is obsessed with us."

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