New tools to combat doping in sports
The Official State Gazette has published Organic Law 3/2013, of June 20, 2013, on the protection of the health of sportspersons and anti-doping in sports activity, set to enter into force on July 11, 2013, in a bid to modernize the previous regulations (Law 7/2006, of November 21, 2006) in order to bring it fully into line with international anti-doping rules.
This new law, which repeals the previous 2006 legislation, introduces extremely important new developments in the fight against doping, enabling many of the stumbling blocks shown up by the current system to be overcome is key cases such as “Operation Puerto”. If this case already lit the fuse in Spain for Law 7/2006 on the Protection of Health and the Fight against Doping in Sports, it has also been behind the improvements and adaptation to the World Anti-Doping Code of the regulation of certain key issues for the battle against doping. In this connection, there are two noteworthy new developments introduced to the Law:
- The Spanish Anti-Doping Agency, hereafter to be known as the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport, will take on all of the disciplinary competences that were the preserve of the Spanish Sports High Council under the previous system in relation to the protection of sportspersons’ health. Thus, the independence of the public body has been strengthened under one sole administrative jurisdiction that was previously shared out among various entities, under the supervision of the Sports High Council.
- Elsewhere, Article 33 sets in place a system of collaboration among the criminal law authorities competent to hear criminal proceedings for purported doping crimes (Article 361 bis of the Criminal Code) and the administrative authorities tasked with conducting doping-related criminal proceedings. Specifically, it provides for the possibility of applying to the examining judge or the body tasked with judging the crime for the elements of proof in files that may be necessary to process the administrative proceedings; an application that must at all times be dealt with by the criminal law authority on a reasoned basis and having regard to the principle of proportionality.
While the regulatory implementation remains pending, we are looking at a law that will enable doping conduct to be categorically prosecuted and rooted out, something that has not been entirely possible to date given, among other issues, the lack of regulation of an issue as essential and controversial as the necessary collaboration between court and administrative authorities and the potential use of evidence obtained within the framework of a criminal proceeding in the administrative area.
Now, finally, it appears we have in place the instrument required to be able to meet the international anti-doping commitments assumed.