The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Friday announced that it is aware of media allegations regarding the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (CELAD). Apparently, CELAD has been involved in anti-doping testing malpractice and possibly concealing positive test results involving Spanish athletes.

“WADA strongly rejects the suggestion that it would ever turn a blind eye to a valid case. The Agency confirms that all cases have been followed up repeatedly through the results management process and that some are still pending,” the World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement.

In the same statement, WADA acknowledged that CELAD is being investigated. And acknowledged it is being monitored by WADA, which has removed CELAD from several tests and referred them to other international bodies.

Earlier in the week WADA spokesperson James Fitzgerald wrote in an email to Athletics Illustrated, “…WADA is well aware of ongoing issues related to the National Anti-Doping Organization of Spain (CELAD). And is closely monitoring its activities to ensure they are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. As part of that, we can confirm that there are a number of outstanding corrective actions that need to be addressed by CELAD as a matter of urgency. Failure to do so will result in a compliance procedure being initiated against it, as per the usual Code compliance process. WADA will always ensure CELAD – and all Anti-Doping Organizations – prosecute cases where appropriate to do so under the Code. Undue delays in dealing with cases will not be tolerated.”

Media company Relevo alleges…

Media company Relevo alleges that the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (CELAD) paid for irregular tests with public funds for five years. This led to no positive cases being sanctioned. 

According to El País, the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD) reported the CELAD case to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the basis of a report received from the Ministry of Education and Sport.

WADA President Witold Banka said “We are well aware of the deep-seated problems in the Spanish anti-doping system. I am disappointed with the level of cooperation we have received from CELAD. In our attempt to improve the system for Spanish athletes. The fact that there are positive cases that have not been dealt with in a timely manner. Despite regular monitoring by WADA, is unacceptable,” he said.

“WADA will always ensure that CELAD — and all anti-doping organizations — adhere to the highest standards. This is in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, including prosecuting cases where appropriate. As such, WADA is following its normal procedures and acting in the best interests of clean sport. All such matters will be thoroughly investigated by WADA. If they are not dealt with quickly and effectively, it is clear that there will be significant consequences for Spanish sport,” he warned.

In 2023, WADA took the unusual step of withdrawing three Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) cases from CELAD. WADA handed them over to other international federations to deal with. Additionally WADA actively pursued CELAD regarding delays in certain cases.