Names of athletes linked to Operation Puerto doping scandal will not be made public, according to reports

There has been a long-running court battle to publish the names – but it looks like it could be coming to an end

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The names of athletes linked to the Operation Puerto blood doping scandal will not be made public, according to reports.

Operation Puerto dates back to 2006 when hundreds of blood bags were seized in police raid at a clinic run by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid.

Anti-doping authorities have been locked in a long-running legal battle to identify the sportspeople linked to the affair as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been carrying out DNA analysis work to confirm their identities.

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WADA is nearing the end of the identification process, but as the time limit on punishing these athletes has passed Spanish courts have ruled that publishing the names of the sportspeople involved would be a breach of their privacy.

A WADA spokesperson told Olympic news website Insidethegames: “We will not be able to publish the names of those athletes because the eight-year statute of limitation passed on this case in 2014.”

“This is due to the very significant time taken by the Spanish justice system to provide WADA and other anti-doping organisations involved with samples taken from the blog bags.”

WADA investigators have used documents from the police and anti-doping laboratories, interviews with experts and media reports to identify athletes and test samples against the Puerto blood.

The authority said it will pursue other options for the list of names, including potentially confidentially sharing them with international federations and national anti-doping organisations.

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Big name riders were implicated in the scandal, including Alejandro Valverde.

In 2009 Valverde was given a two-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for sport for his involvement in Puerto.

Despite never actually failing a doping test, he was linked to the doping ring by DNA evidence.