Spanish anti-doping agency loses appeal in data protection dispute

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Spanish athletes investigated for doping could have their identities protected after Spain’s High Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the national anti-doping agency, ruling information on doping should be classified as health data.

The country’s anti-doping agency, AEPSAD, was found to have breached data protection by Spain’s data protection agency when it published the name of an athlete in an investigation into taking banned substances.

AEPSAD said it had not committed an infraction as it had published information about the athlete taking a banned substance, not their health, and appealed the ruling.

But the court’s administrative chamber rejected AEPSAD’s appeal, declaring that the dictionary definition of health included the taking of substances to help the physical condition of any person, including athletes.

The chamber added that it had analysed Spanish, European Union and international law and concluded that information about doping constituted health information “without harming the fight against doping… to protect the integrity of sport”.

AEPSAD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ruling only affects athletes investigated in Spain and their identity would not necessarily be protected if they were investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

AEPSAD’s investigation into the athlete, whose identity was protected in court documents, was eventually dismissed.

The athlete claimed to have ingested the banned substance by mistakenly taking their child’s medication.