Operation Puerto and Doping in Spain
After seven years Operation Puerto comes to a conclusion - but at what cost?
we move forward to 2020, let’s go back to February of 2012. Spanish Sport Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said, “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.” Later this year Wert told the AP that once the bill is passed by Parliament, “The impression that (Spain) lacks toughness on doping will disappear.” But until then ...
Now we are dealing with technicalities and loop holes in the Spanish judiciary system that moves at the pace of an ice glacier not subjected to global warming. As mentioned earlier blood doping wasn’t illegal in Spain as long as the doping was performed by a doctor and carried out in a sterile environment. That was Dr. Fuentes’ “get out of jail free” card. He claims he did perform transfusions, but in a clean, safe environment.
However, anyone who read Tyler Hamilton’s “The Secret Race” knows that wasn’t always the case. Hamilton had his blood drawn by Dr. Fuentes’ assistant, not a doctor.
As you can see, Operation Puerto has been a big, bloody mess from beginning to end. But now the judge wants to destroy the blood bags so that no athletes can be identified.
“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 World Anti-Doping Agency general director David Howman. It sure is!
The reason why the Spanish judge wants to see the blood bags destroyed isn’t clear. One possible reason is the original judge wouldn’t allow any evidence to be submitted that pertained to doping in sports, because doping wasn’t illegal in 2006. Therefore, if you follow that line of logic the names shouldn’t be made public - kinda like doctor/patient confidentiality. If you are trying to find the logic in that please don’t try - your head might explode.
Another possibility is that the judge doesn’t want to open a huge can of worms in another sport like soccer or tennis. When it comes to soccer, Spain are the reigning World and European champions - and FIFA is already struggling with corruption claims. It would be a huge national embarrassment to discover that a whole squad of Spanish athletes were doping. Spain could forget about getting the Olympics if it was discovered their national soccer team was dirty, or for that matter organized doping on a national level was going on underneath their noses.
Thankfully the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency is going to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Speaking to the AP, Spanish Anti-Doping Agency director Ana Muñoz said, “We know the truth that says that Dr. Fuentes is not a good doctor because he did some practices that are very bad for the health of athletes. But, on the other hand, it is necessary to know the names of the athletes.”
If these names are not made public the Spanish government is waving the white flag and admitting they lost to doping - they’d rather just sweep it away than to clean