The four cleared figures were connected to Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor at the centre of the scandal ©Getty Images

Four figures at the centre of the Operation Puerto doping scandal will face no further punishment from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).

The quartet include Yolanda Fuentes, the doctor whose brother, Eufemiano, remains at the heart of the 12-year long investigation, as well as former ONCE and Liberty Seguros team sports director Manolo Saiz.

Vicente Belda and Ignacio Labarta, two figures associated with the former Kelme team, will also go unsanctioned.

Spanish newspaper AS have reported that Judge Benito López proved that the defendants resorted to doping practices.

However, the RFEC reportedly decided not to sanction the four because they do not have a licence at present.

This is despite the fact that Saiz currently manages the under-23 Aldro team.

Two-hundred and eleven frozen bags of blood and plasma were seized from the clinic of Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid after a police raid in 2006, with the doctor found to have facilitated blood doping to several of the world's leading cyclists.

Doping was not considered a criminal offence in Spain at the time, with Fuentes initially given a one-year suspended sentence on public health grounds.

An initial verdict had ruled that the evidence should be destroyed but this was overturned after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI) were among those to appeal.

Alejandro Valverde is one of the cyclists sanctioned in connection with Operation Puerto ©Getty Images
Alejandro Valverde is one of the cyclists sanctioned in connection with Operation Puerto ©Getty Images

The four figures now cleared were all accused of being part of Fuentes' ring. 

Their public health charges were eventually dismissed before being re-opened after the UCI and WADA appeals.

Anti-doping officials have faced significant difficulties in naming athletes as, with the case now in its 11th year, the statute of limitations has passed.

Only a small number of cyclists involved have ever been outed, including Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich of Germany, Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde and Italy's Ivan Basso.

Top players in other high profile sports such as tennis, football and basketball are also alleged to have been part of a doping ring.

Operation Puerto has continued to tarnish Spain’s sporting image with the initial case harming Madrid's bid for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It contributed to them being eliminated in the first round of voting at the 125th International Olympic Committee Session in Buenos Aires, after losing a run-off against Istanbul.

Japan's capital city Tokyo eventually emerged as the clear winners.