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Doping Is Not A “Big Concern”, Says La Liga President

La Liga President Javier Tebas has claimed that doping does not exist in Spanish football and it is not a "big concern".

Tebas made these comments despite allegations in recent months of a lack of sanctioned drug testing within the league. Last month, news emerged that there had not been any sanctioned anti-doping tests conducted on players in La Liga, considered one of the leading sports leagues in the world, since the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD) was declared non-compliant by WADA in March 2016.

The La Liga President also remarked that La Liga, considered one of the leading sports leagues in the world, had other problems and doping is not one of them. The 54-year-old, who has been the league's President since 2013, also said that anti-doping procedures would see further improvements in the near future. Tebas also commented that the issues would be rectified after the AEPSAD regained compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) earlier this month.

Tebas also commented that there was no agreement between the Spanish Government and the Anti-Doping Agency and therefore La Liga could not do much. The La Liga President also remarked there were only three cases in the last few years when there was testing going on. Tebas also said there were only three players who tested positive in 10,000 or so matches and therefore it is not a big concern for us in Spanish football. Tebas also commented we have got other problems but doping is not one of them and also remarked we have had some financial problems affecting some of the clubs and we have had some issues with match-fixing but not doping.

A "Royal Decree-Law", the content of which is in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency Code, was adopted by the Spanish Council of Ministers and the Code elements to incorporate into Spanish legislation. The "decree-law" still has to be formally ratified by the Spanish Parliament within one month from the date of its adoption in accordance with relevant Government procedures brought to the attention of WADA by the AEPSAD. The AEPSAD will automatically revert to being non-compliant in case of a failure.

It was claimed by AEPSAD that there had been 57 tests conducted this season from 457 matches in the top two divisions. However, many agencies expressed concerns on the anti-doping methods in La Liga that has some of the best football players in the world including Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Spain was declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency after the country failed to meet a deadline for required changes to their drug-testing procedures amid a political impasse. In June last year, the Madrid Anti-Doping Laboratory was declared non-compliant by WADA. Until November, Spain had no functioning Government that meant it could not alter its anti-doping procedures. Therefore, the Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport asked UEFA and FIFA to help ensure valid testing was being carried out in La Liga and the Copa Del Rey.

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Albert Wolfgang
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