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Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparge)
Anti-doping body concerned by drain on costs and resources
Delays in Alejandro Valverde's two pending appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have raised the ire of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). A representative from WADA described the organisation's dissatisfaction with the proceedings at the WADA board meeting in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Valverde is currently involved with two cases before the CAS, both related to the 2006 Operación Puerto blood-doping investigation. The first is the Caisse d'Epargne's rider's own appeal against a two-year ban from competition in Italy, enforced by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) for his alleged involvement in the Puerto affair. The second case is a joint action by WADA and the International Cycling Union (UCI), who have appealed the Spanish cycling federation's (RFEC) decision not to launch their own disciplinary proceedings against Valverde as a result of evidence gathered during the Puerto investigation.
A decision in the Valverde/CONI case had been expected in the middle of November, however, the CAS announced earlier that month that the decision would be delayed. It was the second such delay in the case and WADA have now expressed their concerns over the drain, in terms of costs and resources, that have been incurred throughout the proceedings.
"This case has lasted for two years; it is extremely frustrating," said Olivier Niggli, the director of legal affairs for WADA, according to AFP. "I hope the CAS does not forget these costs when it announces its decision."
Although delayed, a decision in the Valverde/CONI case is expected to be made before that of the WADA/UCI's appeal. The outcome of the latter action has the potential to have an even greater effect upon Valverde's future. If the CAS rules in favour of WADA and the UCI, he could face a global two-year ban from competition.
The president of the UCI Pat McQuaid has echoed the concerns of WADA in terms of costs and resources. McQuaid told AFP that delays in the cases before the CAS "undermine the credibility of what we do."
The CAS has yet to announce a new date for a ruling in the Valverde/CONI case, as well as the initial date for a decision in the WADA/UCI appeal.
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