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WADA Alarmed By Lack Of Drug Tests In La Liga

The World Anti-Doping Agency has remarked it is "alarmed" to learn about the absence of drug testing in Spanish football in the past 11 months.

In March 2016, WADA declared Spain's anti-doping body (AEPSAD) as non-compliant. The WADA-accredited laboratory in Madrid was suspended in June. The lab was provided by WADA from carrying out any WADA-related anti-doping activities including all analyses of urine and blood samples after it missed out on a deadline to make changes to its testing procedures.

Since March 2016, only 57 tests have been done on La Liga players from clubs not competing in Europe and there have been no anti-doping tests in the country's second division. However, the validity of those tests is nullified if they have been carried out by AEPSAD's Madrid laboratory because of the agency's non-compliant status.

WADA said it was hopeful that FIFA or UEFA could take on drug testing in Spain in the interim but no agreement was struck. The World Anti-Doping Agency said the lack of testing in a country with one of the leading football leagues worldwide for a period of almost 12 months is alarming. It further added that it will do little to instill confidence in clean sport at a time when it is needed most.

In reply to WADA, Spain's anti-doping body said doping tests are likely to resume before the end of the month once the global code of WADA is approved by the new Spanish government. AEPSAD confirmed it asked UEFA and FIFA to sign an agreement to take over testing during the suspension and added both declined as they felt it was outside their area of responsibility.

In a statement, AEPSAD said the exceptional political situation that Spain has survived in the last few months has prevented the implication of Law 3/2013, necessary for fulfilling the Spanish anti-doping rules and the World Anti-Doping code. The statement further reads that AEPSAD with respect to the absence of anti-doping testing in Spanish football proposed to FIFA and UEFA, at the behest of WADA, the signing of an agreement in order that one of these international federations would take over the testing in Spanish football while AEPSAD was non-compliant. The statement from Spain's anti-doping body also reads that both federations declined to sign the agreement on the understanding that FIFA were limited to international football, while UEFA felt that they were limited to football clubs participating in UEFA competitions and therefore no agreement was signed and no international federation would assume the responsibility for anti-doping tests in Spanish football.

The World Anti-Doping Agency described the absence of drug tests in La Liga as a "deeply disappointing" move that prevented effective anti-doping programs from being run at the national level in Spain in a number of sports during this period of non-compliance.

However, La Liga clubs playing in Europe and the Spanish national team have been subject to testing by FIFA and UEFA.

La Liga is considered to be one of the world's Premier Football Leagues. It boasts many of the world's biggest football stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar.

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Albert Wolfgang
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