While the new anti-doping law, the third that Spain has been endowed with in 15 years, leaves the Council of State with an opinion that will force several adjustments and is ready to embark on its long parliamentary path, the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEPSAD) continues to take steps in search of greater independence and autonomy with respect to sports organizations. Thus, the Madrid doping control laboratory, which since its birth has been attached to the Higher Sports Council (CSD), which guarantees the investments and salaries of its workers, will in the coming months depend on the Carlos III Health Institute , a public and autonomous scientific research body.
“Thus Spain complies with the recommendations of the World Anti-Doping Agency on the need to assign laboratories to scientific and non-political entities,” explains José Luis Terreros, director of AEPSAD, who recalls that the other Spanish laboratory, Barcelona, depends of the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research (IMIM). The Madrid laboratory, installed next to the Blume residence and the High Performance Center, analyzes almost 9,000 urine and blood samples annually, a third more than the one in Barcelona. “In addition to independence,” adds Terreros, “joining Carlos III will allow for increased research, one of the basic pillars of the fight against doping.” Two women will be responsible for the scientific anti-doping sector in Spain, Raquel Yotti, director of Carlos III, and Gloria Muñoz, director of the Madrid laboratory.
Although its opinion is not binding, the Council of State found half a dozen so-called essential reproaches, which must be accepted in the new anti-doping law, mainly in accordance with the Constitution of the sanctioning regime of the new anti-doping law, drawn up by the Professor at the Complutense Germán Fernández Farreres. “They will be easy modifications to fit in,” indicates Terreros, who recalls that it is always difficult to adapt Spanish laws to the variable demands of the World Anti-Doping Code, based on Anglo-Saxon law. “But the ruling does not touch on the great novelties that will make the agency and the fight against doping more independent and autonomous from federations, CSD and other sports powers.”
One of the main novelties is the creation of a sanctioning court that frees the director of the agency from the complete task of opening, instructing, investigating and resolving files. “Until now, it was and the agency’s lawyer who instructed and resolved,” says Terreros, who was appointed by José Ramón Lete, Mariano Rajoy’s second secretary of state. “Now it will be a court of juridical, legal, medical experts, who, with total independence, decides.” The sanctioning and control regime for international, national and amateur athletes is also clarified in the new law.
It will be the third organic law against doping in 15 years. The first, the great novelty, which included doping in the penal code, was promoted in 2006 by Secretary of State Jaime Lissavetzky; the second, the one founded by AEPSAD by including health issues in sport in the anti-doping fight, was the 2013 law, promoted by Miguel Cardenal. The preliminary draft of the third was approved by the Council of Ministers of Pedro Sánchez last October, after the impulse of the previous Secretaries of State María José Rienda and Irene Lozano. The first two laws were approved unanimously, an objective that Terreros also pursues with the third. “And, being optimistic, I believe that we will be able to start 2022 with a new law, fairer and more in line with world legislation,” promises Terreros, whose agency, already detached from health issues, will no longer be called AEPSAD, but CELAD or AELAD , depending on whether the final name is the State Anti-Doping Commission or Agency (preferred by the Council of State).