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SPORTS

"Political interference" led to Contador case appeal

World Anti-Doping Agency says it's "delighted" with decision

By pure coincidence, just 24 hours after the Court of Arbitration for Sport declared itself the winner of its battle with Alberto Contador, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was having one of its annual press get-togethers around the corner from the courthouse in Lausanne.

It's at these events that the organization attempts to justify its existence as the global gendarmerie. "We only catch the stupid ones," said WADA director general David Howman. "A survey of elite athletes tells us they think around 20 percent dope. Our calculation is a little more than 10 percent. However, each year only between one and two percent are caught."

On Contador, the plat du jour, Howman said: "We are delighted with the CAS' decision, which justifies our fight. It showed that food contamination is not a solid thesis. Athletes should pay more attention and be more careful and we should control these substances better."

Earlier, the WADA president, John Fahey, released a statement suggesting that if the Spanish Cycling Federation had suspended Contador, the case may not have been pursued at the CAS. "If they had suspended him for 12 months [...] I couldn't say for sure it would have happened. But it was regrettable that there was Spanish political interference [from then-PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who offered his infamous message of support a few days before the RFEC's decision] in the first stages of the procedure. That, inevitably, pushed us to appeal."

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