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Spain admits to doping problem

2012-02-14 17:01
Jose Ignacio Wert (File)

Madrid - Spain's sports minister said Tuesday the country has a doping problem, speaking in the midst of a scandal over a French TV show's lampooning of Spanish sports stars' drug use.

"We have a problem with doping," Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said at a New Society Forum conference here.

The government would try to harmonise its anti-doping laws with World Anti-Doping Agency requirements, he said, adding that this was a crucial aspect of Madrid's bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Sketches on Canal Plus France's puppet show "Les Guignols" have whipped up outrage in Spain, prompting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo to order a formal protest to French media.

One sketch featured a puppet likeness of world No 2 Rafael Nadal refuelling the tank of his car from his own bladder, a fill-up which powers up the car and leads to him being pulled over by police.

In another, a satirical advert asks people to donate blood to Spanish cycling champion Alberto Contador, who has been slapped with a two-year doping ban, and thus share in the glory of his cycling victories.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who welcomed Nadal to the prime minister's office along with the victorious Davis Cup team, joined criticism of the French show.

"The greatest scorn is not to appreciate someone," the Spanish leader said.

"Our country has won the most at Roland-Garros (the French Open) even if some people don't seem to be aware of it,"

Spain's 2006 anti-doping law makes trafficking in sports doping products a criminal offence.

The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport last week handed a two-year ban to two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador after he tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.

Contador says it was due to a contaminated steak eaten during the 2010 Tour de France. He has also said that his lawyers are looking into a possible appeal.

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