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Madrid hopes new anti-doping law will strengthen Olympics bid

People gather in center of Madrid on Oct



On top of Madrid’s relatively minuscule budget of $1.9 billion for the 2020 Olympics - one-tenth of the $19 billion Istanbul has earmarked - Spain hopes the introduction of a new doping law three months before the vote will strengthen its bid.

The new “Law for the Protection of Athletes’ Health and the Fight Against Doping” allows for increased fines and adds the threat of a lifetime ban.

“It strengthens the Madrid 2020 bid,” Spain’s secretary of state for sport, Miguel Cardenal, said in parliament. “Doping is no longer on the agenda as a concern for Madrid’s candidacy. It is a determined step forward for Spain in the fight against those who do not respect the purity of sport.”

The law, which Spain thinks will help shed the perception that the country is soft on doping, also includes the creation of the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport, an independent organization that will replace the current Spanish anti-doping agency in managing and conducting tests.

"(Not having the law) had a negative effect on the Madrid 2016 candidacy,” politician Antonio Roman said. “It should not... happen again with Madrid 2020 or the Barcelona bid for the Winter Games of 2022.”