MADRID (AP) — Spain was unable to meet Friday's deadline to comply with World Anti-Doping Agency regulations but hopes to avoid significant sanctions.
Spain's anti-doping agency said it has not been able to make all the required changes demanded by WADA because the country still hasn't formed a new government following elections last year.
Spain has its anti-doping codes enshrined in law, so regulation changes have to be made through the parliament, something that likely won't be possible until the political stalemate is solved.
Spain was one of the countries given the extension deadline in November to come into compliance with the new WADA code by March 18, along with Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece and Mexico. Brazil enacted a presidential decree on Thursday to meet WADA's requirements.
Also in November, six countries were declared by WADA to be non-compliant — Israel, Andorra, Argentina, Bolivia, Russia and Ukraine. Israel and Argentina have since been removed from the list after meeting the requirements.
WADA's deadline ends at midnight Montreal time (0400 GMT). The world agency is expected to release its findings and possible actions against countries not meeting its standards on Saturday.
Countries declared non-compliant can lose accreditation for its testing laboratories and be at risk of being banned from hosting major events or competing in the Olympics.
Spain passed new anti-doping laws in 2013 but it became outdated after WADA changed its code in 2015.
Spain's agency said it has been in constant communication with WADA to explain the situation and hopes the agency will be lenient on its decision. It said WADA knows of the country's commitment to adapt to the new WADA code and that it has its hands tied because of the political impasse that resulted from inconclusive general elections in December.
Spain depends on the parliament because it does not rely on a private organization to oversee the anti-doping regulations.