Madrid: The Spanish government has announced plans for new legislation that will introduce stricter penalties for doping violations. The plans were announced just 10 days before the International Olympic Committee visit Madrid to make their evaluation of the city's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
Should the legislation be passed by parliament, a new agency for the protection of health in sport will replace the current state anti-doping agency and carry a much wider range of powers. Fines for those caught doping will be raised to 400,000 euros ($521,000, £347,116) and anti-doping controls will be permitted between 2300 and 0600 hours if there is deemed to be sufficient cause to do so and that cause is explained to the person undergoing the test.
Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saez de Santamaria said the new legislation is also designed to bring Spain into line with the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA)code. "This law is much more advanced than the previous regulations," she said.
"Its fundamental objective is to protect the health of sportsmen and women and as such will increase the fight against doping and and the independence of the agency dedicated to this goal."
The Spanish Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert, also offered his support to the change in legislation. "Obviously this will help the fight against doping," he said.
"The demands of the WADA code are much more severe than the previous law was." The move comes as the 'Operation Puerto' trial investigating Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes' relationship with a number of high-profile cyclists continues in Madrid.
Fuentes is not accused of any doping offence as the first anti-doping legislation in Spain wasn't introduced until 2006, after the investigation into his activities had begun, but rather of endangering public health by performing blood transfusions on his clients.