Lissavetzky wants credit for Spanish anti-doping efforts

CSD President Jaime Lissavetzky

CSD President Jaime Lissavetzky (Image credit: AFP)

After the UCI and WADA lamented the lack of progress in the Operación Puerto case, Spanish Sports Minister Jaime Lissavetzky defended Spain's action in the Puerto and other doping-related cases.

"We have shown a clear desire to implement a policy of zero tolerance against doping in sport," Lissavetzky told Reuters in an interview. "We aren't going to backtrack and in time Operation Puerto will be seen as a milestone."

"If there had been no Operation Puerto we wouldn't be talking about this and the truth is if we wanted to hide things we would never have initiated an investigation like this. Operation Puerto caused the dismantling of a presumed trafficking network but because the operation was carried out before our new anti-doping law was introduced the judge ruled there was no crime."

More than 50 professional cyclists were named in the investigation conducted by Spain's Civil Guard, but the judge ended the case without pressing any charges. He decided that no crimes were committed under laws at the time. In response, the Spanish government appealed the decision and also passed more stringent anti-doping laws that could be used in future case

"How many other countries have carried out similar operations?" asked Lissavetzky. "We have passed a law in which the supply of doping products is now considered a criminal offence and there are only five countries in the world where that is the case and they are all European. If anyone has any evidence of anything else they must present it to us. No one should doubt the extraordinary effort we are making in this area. Our law is in the vanguard of European legislation in this area."

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