The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is facing significant scrutiny after revelations surfaced regarding the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (CELAD) allowing Spanish athletes to skirt punishment between 2017 and 2022. An investigation by Relevo uncovered that CELAD employed various tactics to sidestep penalties for athletes testing positive for banned substances.
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During this period, CELAD utilized unconventional strategies, such as mailing investigation documents instead of using email. Exploiting this loophole, athletes could claim non-receipt of notifications within the one-year statute of limitations, leading to case dismissals through procedural maneuvers.
Even when tests yielded positive results, CELAD refrained from launching investigations. For instance, Patrick Chinedu Ike tested positive for three banned substances, yet there was no follow-up investigation or penalties imposed, allowing Ike to continue competing without repercussions.
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In an unusual development, marathon runner Majida Maayouf received retrospective permission to use prohibited substances for medical reasons, initially granted indefinitely before being revoked 18 months later. Surprisingly, Head of Anti-Doping Control Jesus Munoz-Guerra avoided initiating an inquiry or imposing penalties on Maayouf.
More concerning was CELAD’s misuse of public funds on inadequate tests that failed to meet required standards, sending only one tester instead of the mandated two, rendering the tests invalid. Despite being aware of these procedural flaws, WADA remained inactive.
The report underscores the lack of sanctions against Spanish athletes over five years, contrasting starkly with the case of former Sevilla footballer Papu Gomez, facing penalties for unintentionally ingesting a banned substance. Gomez’s appeal contends the incident was accidental. Additionally, Munoz-Guerra faces legal action for falsifying public documents, potentially leading to an 8-9 year prison term.
Surprisingly, despite these findings, WADA has not taken action against the head of CELAD. Munoz-Guerra remains unpunished and even received accolades for his work, slated to participate in the Olympic Committee overseeing anti-doping measures for the 2024 Olympics.