WADA director general David Howman welcomes the decision to release blood bags seized during Operation Puerto but is dismayed it took over 10 years to do so

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World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman says he is “dismayed” at the length of time it took for a Spanish court to release 211 blood bags seized during Operation Puerto.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that the bags should be released to sports authorities for those athletes involved to be identified just over 10 years after they were seized from the offices of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes.

WADA appealed an original decision by the Criminal Court of Madrid to destroy the bags back in 2013 and has waited three years for a resolution.

“WADA acknowledges the Madrid Court of Appeal for having reached the decision to provide anti-doping authorities with this crucial evidence,” Howman said in a statement.

“We are dismayed that it took so long to receive the decision but we will now partner with the other parties that have been granted access [to the blood bags], to determine our legal options vis-à-vis analysing the blood and plasma bags.”

With the 10-year mark since the raids being passed three weeks ago, athletes identified from the blood and plasma bags will not face sanctions due to the new statute of limitations introduced by WADA.