Spain to cut anti-doping funding
Funding for the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency will be reduced next year as part of a series of national austerity measures being proposed by the government, sports secretary Jaime Lissavetzky has said.
The cuts were announced days after a spate of positive tests involving Spanish riders, including Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, were disclosed by the International Cycling Union.
The Spanish Sports Council, which is responsible for the AEA, will suffer an almost eight percent cut in funds against the 2010 budget, amounting to a loss of around 14.5million euros.
As part of those cuts the AEA is to have its budget reduced by 2.7 percent, which prompted the opposition to question the wisdom of the move.
"In what state will that leave Spain's fight against doping, at a time when the president of the International Cycling Union Pat McQuaid is questioning our fight against doping," opposition Partido Popular MP Manuel Dominguez said on Thursday.
Lissavetzky responded saying the AEA's work and its laboratory would not be affected by the cuts.
Three-times Tour champion Contador was provisionally suspended by the UCI last week after testing positive for a tiny quantity of the anabolic agent clenbuterol during the July race.
The 27-year-old has denied doping and put the positive test down to contaminated meat.
He was one of four Spanish riders suspended in three days last week, and joined a list of recent positive doping cases that have tarnished the country's image in the sport.