The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reinstated the accreditation of the Madrid Laboratory.
The WADA decision means the facility in the Spanish capital can now resume all of its anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples, with "immediate effect". This decision was made after compliance with WADA was regained in March by the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD). Later, members of the WADA Laboratory Expert Group conducted a site visit to the facility in Madrid from March 23 to 24 and recommended the Laboratory be reinstated.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli said the World Anti-Doping Agency is pleased to confirm that the Madrid Laboratory’s accreditation has been reinstated following the return of AEPSAD to compliance. Niggli added we would like to thank the Laboratory for their continued cooperation throughout this process and added WADA given the specific circumstances of their suspension is confident that the Laboratory will continue to operate to the high standards required.
Last year, the accreditation of the Madrid Laboratory was suspended on June 6 following the WADA Foundation Board declaring the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport as non-compliant the previous March. The Madrid laboratory was prohibited from carrying out WADA related anti-doping activities, including the analysis of urine and blood samples.
AEPSAD vowed to make the required changes at the earliest following general elections which took place in December 2015. However, it proved impossible to negotiate a coalition after no single party came close to obtaining a majority. During these times, Spain remained without a permanent Government and Parliament that further meant that it was unable to anti-doping procedural changes because of the absence of a functioning legislative branch.
In November last year, the Spanish Socialist party (PSOE) chose to abstain from a second investiture vote that led to Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative People’s party, being re-appointed as Prime Minister.
In the past, Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco criticized WADA and its President Sir Craig Reedie at the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Doha. Blanco remarked the objective of WADA must not be to tell sports institutions what they should be doing, like telling the International Olympic Committee to sanction all Russian athletes. The Spanish Olympic Committee President had also commented that we have to ensure we are not affected by opinions which create a bad image of us in sport.
The country is widely considered to have one of the worst doping records in Europe and it is believed to be one of the biggest reasons why the bid of Madrid to be awarded the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games failed.
In La Liga, there had not been any WADA-sanctioned drug testing on players since the Spanish NADO was declared non-compliant earlier this year as Spain was being non-compliant. The Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport claimed that there had been 57 tests conducted this season from 457 matches in the top two divisions. The revelation on the lack of drug-testing sparked concern in the football league that attracts some of the best football players of the world, including FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
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