Sky Sports' Orla Chennaoui believes Operation Puerto is a missed opportunity

Last Updated: 30/04/13 5:36pm

Sky Sports' Orla Chennaoui believes the end of the Operation Puerto blood doping trial represents an opportunity missed for those seeking to clean up top-level sport.

"Anyone who was hoping for a swift resolution to Operation Puerto was arguably always going to be disappointed.

"After all, the investigation has lasted some seven years, the trial itself took two months and even after a month of deliberation we had an extra hour's delay thrown in for good measure, before learning the judge's verdicts.

"That we still don't know just who owns the unidentified blood bags at the centre of the case is perhaps not a surprise, but certainly a source of frustration.

"It was within Judge Julia Santamaria's power to begin winding up this affair once and for all, and hand the bags belonging to unnamed athletes to the anti-doping authorities.

"Instead, she's decided to cut the trail dead.

"If, as expected, the anti-doping agencies appeal that decision, and it goes to the Spanish Supreme Court, it could still take months before we're any closer to a definitive decision.

"Even if we do eventually arrive at a situation where the samples are tested and athletes are identified, just how relevant will the news be that a certain former athlete used to dope one or two decades ago?

"It will be easy to write it all off as something that happened in the past and pretend the sport in question has moved on.

"But if there's no incentive for sports to move on, why should they endeavour to do so?

"Unless matters are dealt with swiftly, the dopers retire happily (if not healthily), doping practices move on, and the duping of sports fans and clean athletes continues unabated.

"One court case isn't going to change that, but every blocked investigation into doping sets us back immeasurably in the quest for clean, believable, authentic sport."