MADRID: Seventy-eight top-level Spanish athletes on Wednesday expressed their “firm and absolute rejection of the latest actions” of the Spanish anti-doping agency (CELAD), whose head was sacked last month following accusations of irregularities.

In a statement published on social networks, the sportsmen and women, including two-time world walking champions Alvaro Martín and Maria Perez, demanded “honesty and transparency” from the agency’s directors in the fight against doping.

“Recent events have only served to push back the boundaries and provoke feelings of mistrust, uncertainty and indignation towards our leaders in the fight against doping,“ they write.

“As professional athletes, we recognise the difficulty of eradicating doping,“ they said.

“All sectors must reject any practice that violates the anti-doping rules defined by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).”

This public stance comes after the Spanish government dismissed the director of the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (CELAD), Jose Luis Terreros, on January 26.

Spain’s leading governmental sports authority (CSD) had initially asked Terreros to resign on January 5.

The CSD passed on a report on the agency to Spanish prosecutors after an investigation into a complaint alleging “irregularities in the use of public funds and in the control and sanctioning of doping”.

Spanish media outlet Relevo said CELAD had exploited bureaucratic loopholes to cover up positive cases.

Terreros said the reports were “false information”.

“Today, all Spanish athletes may be victims of mistrust in our society and among our colleagues in other countries because of the latest news,“ said the athletes who signed the statement. - AFP

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