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Doping in football

Dopingcase in German Football

There is a new doping case in Germany's professional football. Doping control officers found a cortisone substance in Francois Marque's blood. His club 1. FC Saarbrücken (third division) confirmed the positive test of the French player, says [German public TV ARD](http://www.sportschau.de/fussball/bundesliga3/marque100.html).

von Daniel Drepper

The forbidden substance was found after a game against RB Leipzig on November 30st. 31st. A- and B-sample were positive. German football federation DFB wants to deal with the case in a hearing next Monday.

According to ARD the positive sample was caused by a cortisone-containing ointment. Athletes need therapeutic use exemptions from a national doping agency to use these sort of creams. His club 1. FC Saarbrücken seems to think that the positive test is a form error. Maybe they reference to a missing use exemption.

Physicians use cortisone to treat pain and heal wounds. Athletes can use it for muscle gain and better regeneration – especially in combination with other substances. In the 70s and 80s cortisone was one of the most used doping products.

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Defender Marque plays for Saarbrücken since mid-October. On October 25th Marque tore his muscle. The game against RB Leipzig, where he tested positive, was on November 31st. It was Marque’s second game after he came back from his injury.

Here you can find our timeline of all publicly known doping cases in German football: Timeline

Update: Jonathan Sachse will be talking tomorrow morning at 11am (Berlin time) in Sportradio360 [sorry, it will be in German].

We will follow up on this story in the next days.

© Fußballnation Portugal / Twitter-Nutzer agu2000_de; CC BY 2.0)

Doping in football

European doping test systems: Record positives in Portugal

More than 100 positive doping tests have been discovered in Portuguese football over the last ten years. That’s quite remarkable and by far the record number in European football. What’s the reason for so many positive tests? The answer is to be found in the Portuguese control system.

von Jonathan Sachse

In December, we published the first results of our research about doping controls in European football. Now we dig a little deeper and are going to analyse the various systems. We kick it off with Portugal.

Who gets tested and where?

Portugal’s anti-doping agency ADoP carries out all tests. A minimum of two matches of the first division (Liga ZON Sagres) and one match of the second division (Liga2 Cabovisao) will be drawn every match day. There are only three out-of-competition tests per team in the first division and two per team in the second division over the whole season.

Compared to other European countries, Portuguese testers carry out an unusual high amount of tests in non-professional football, Futsal as well as women’s football. Only two thirds of the 1.000 tests in 2012 (745 IC/252 OOC) where actually carried out in the first or second division.

Every test will be analysed by the WADA-accredited lab in Lisbon.

Why are there more than 100 positives?

Concerning to Luis Horta, especially amateurs get caught. Horta, the ADoP chairman, claims that is due to using what he calls „social drugs“ like marihuana, cocaine or other party drugs. Therefore, Horta doesn’t think Portuguese football has a doping problem.

Horta says, there are quite a lot tests in football. He believes that the rate of positive tests would rise the less tests are carried out. The testing system discourages many footballers, writes Horta. However, Horta is well aware of the amount of money as well as the various interests that are present in football.

Due to privacy laws Horta refuses to hand out more information about the positive tests like the age of the player or the substance he was tested positive for. Without that itemisation we are not able to give a more profound analyses of those doping cases.

What’s the standard of the national testing system?

Blood testing only take splace out-of-competition, but the numbers are almost ridiculous. In 2012, there were 33 blood tests, but only 15 were analysed for CERA and 18 for HGH. As in Germany the players are not asked for a blood test after matches.

In 2012, the Lisbon lab only analysed 42 urin samples for EPO. In our opinion, that is far too little concerning the popularity of the substance.

However, there is something that works better than in Germany. All players of the first and second division are obliged to name a time slot of 60 minutes to be available for testing outside the usual training. For privacy reasons, the ADoP doesn’t use the official ADAMS system implemented by WADA but a different software where also lower division players need to register.

How could the system be improved?

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Competition testing costs about 165.000 euros and is financed by the Portuguese football federation. That means the federation has full control over the amount of testing. The more they pay, the more testing there is. At least out-of-competition testing (120.000 euros) is funded by the tax money of the ADoP.

Right now, there is not enough in-competition testing. The main focus in-competition testing with 75 per cent of the tests carried out there. Between match days there is a lot of opportunity to manipulate.

Where there popular doping cases?

Just before the 2002 world cup two players were banned from the national team after positive tests. Substitute goalkeeper Joaquim „Quim“ Silva was banned for six months after he was tested positive for Nandrolone. A couple of hours before the final squad nomination, the positive test of Daniel Kenedy was published. Kenedy was caught for using the blood thinner Furosemide. He received a ban for 18 months which was later reduced to five months.

Another Nandrolone case was Nuno Assis of Benfica after a first division match against CS Maritimo in 2005. The ban was quite unusual as it was parted into two parts, one to be served in the remainder of the 2005/06 season the other one in the 2006/07 season. There was a longer discussion between the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the player Assis and also the portuguese football federation (FPF) about the doping ban period. WADA wanted to ban Assis with the standard period of two years. At the end the parties couldn’t reach an agreement. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) spoke the final word in this case and reduced it to the half of time (.pdf file with CAS decision).

There was another at least interesting story before the 2012 world cup as team manager Carlos Queiroz allegedly prevented an out-of-competition test of his team. Queiroz was banned for six months by ADoP but the ban was later annulled by a CAS decision (.pdf file with CAS decision).

Where’s the data from?

We exchanged a decent number of emails with ADoP chairman Luis Horta. We draw further information from the annual ADoP report and the 2012 WADA analyses. We were also able to filter a couple of doping cases from the anti-doping database ADDB.

Do you have further information on Portugal?

Are you an expert on Portuguese football? Do you have further information on the national testing system? Are you aware of doping cases we haven’t mentioned? Do you know players, managers, coaches, doctors or other persons in Portuguese football that we should take a closer look on?

We are also going to analyse the bigger European football nations in the upcoming weeks. We’ll take a closer look on England, Spain, Italy, France and a couple of smaller nations. We gladly welcome any support fort the analyses.

If you prefer to contact us anonymously we offer a encrypted data transfer one the upper right side of this page.

translation: Thomas Bachmann

dopingkontrolle-2

Doping in football

Francois Marque banned for six matches

The German Football Federation’s tribunal has ruled the positive test of Francois Marque as a doping offense. However, the defender of third division side Saarbrücken FC has been only banned for six matches as he didn’t use a classic performance enhancing product. The DFB published the verdict on its website (Press Release in German).

von Jonathan Sachse

To bring you up to speed, we put together a chronology of the Marque case from the positive test to the verdict.

Nov 30, 2013

Marque is asked to deliver a urin sample after the match against RB Leipzig. A week later, the lab informs the DFB about the positive test. The cortisone product is free to be used in training, but can only be applied in competition with a medical exemption. Marque was not able to present such an exemption.

Jan 20, 2014

Shortly before Marque’s hearing, the Saarländische Rundfunk (SR) breaks the story of the case. The player asks for the B-sample to be analysed.

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Feb 2014

The doping lab in Kreischa confirms the result of the A-sample. Both samples are positive for a cortisone product.

Feb 20, 2014

The DFB announces it has banned Marque for six matches. Marque will be eligible to play again on match day 32 against MSV Duisburg at the end of March.

Already in 2007, the DFB had to deal with two other cases involving a similar cortisone product. Marc Lerandy of SC Pfullendorf was banned for six matches as well and Daniel Gunkel of Mainz 05 got away with a warning.

However, we think there are more questions in need to be answered. We sent those questions to the DFB, Germany’s anti-doping authority NADA and Saarbrücken FC. Here are some of the questions (answers below):

● Which doctor treated Marque? Why wasn’t there a medical exemption?
● Is NADA going to appeal the verdict?
● Why has the B-sampled been opened so late? Isn’t this a violation of §15 of the DFB anti-doping rules the request an analyses of the B-sample closer tot he A-sample?


Saarbrücken FC doesn’t want to tell us why there was no medical exemption and with what exact product Marque was treated. „Trying to find someone to put the blame on now doesn’t lead us anywhere“, says spokesman Christoph Heiser. Heiser also says the club „probably needs to raise the player’s awareness in the future“.

As it happens: Read our first story about this doping case.

Don’t miss any updates. Follow us on Twitter:

@fussballdoping
@danieldrepper
@jsachse

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Doping in football

The Long Journey of Wc Doping Samples

Doping controls during football world cups are extremly ineffective. Not a single player has been tested positive in the past four world cups. And it could get even worse in Brazil as there is the samples might not be able to analysed in time.

von Jonathan Sachse

Every evening, an airplane leaves Sao Paulo to head to Lausanne. Its precious carriage: Cooled doping samples from the world cup’s footballers. One day it’s samples of German and Portuguese players, the next day it’s urin and blood of Spanish and Dutch players on board. More than 20 of those long flights are scheduled.

You might wonder what’s all the fuzz about and why the samples have to be flown half way around the globe. There’s a delicate background to it. The laboratory in Rio de Janeiro lost its WADA accredidation last year after samples have been falsely analysed as positive. Therefore, FIFA looked for an alternative and picked the distant but trusted lab in Lausanne. Interestingly FIFA could have also picked labs in the US, Canada are other South American countries. Meanwhile, FIFA has admitted its solution could cause serious logistic problems.

Last week, German radio station HR Info put the finger in this particular wound again. The biggest problem is caused by the limited time the Lausanne lab has to analyse the samples. FIFA medical chief Michel D’Hooghe told AP back in April he isn’t „entirely sure“ if the results will be available before the next match a team.

So we also handed in a request. We were keen on getting more information about those doping flights and asked for a flight schedule. However, FIFA refused to hand us those details. Instead, a spokesperson came up with a rather general and very smooth answer: „The Lausanne laboratory is prepared to work 24 hours a day in order to provide the results before the next match of a team.“

So we decided to do the maths ourselves and took a look at the flight route and the probable time it takes to analyse the samples.

After every match, two players of each team are going to be tested. As evening matches end between 5 and 6pm local time and players often need a little while to be able to give a urin sample, it is fair to say this whole process takes up to four hours. That means the samples will leave the stadium at around 10pm.

If you look at the map you easily see the partly massive distances between the stadiums. And keep in mind: The doping flights always start in Sao Paulo.

Considering the distances and Brazil’s infrastructure, the samples need to be taken to Sao Paulo by plane. We listed the approximate flight time in the table below.

Once they’ve reached Sao Paulo, the cooled samples will all be put in to the plane to Lausanne. Let’s say everything works according to plan, then the plane leaves Brazil in the early morning after the match and touches down in Switzerland 14 hours later. So it takes a whole day to take the samples from the stadium to the lab. Again, only if everything works out smoothly.

Andrea Gotzmann, CEO of the German anti-doping agency NADA, explained in a debate on May 21 that a lab needs indeed 24 hours to confirm a sample as negativ. However, if some dodgy parameters come up during the analysis the whole process is much, much longer as everything has to be done again more detailled.

FIFA anti-doping rules (61.1) also state that a player has another 12 hours to request the B-sample if he was tested positive. And now the tricky bit: For the B-sample to be opened, a representative of the player’s club or national team has to be present. In this case, he or she has to be in Lausanne.

To sum it all up: The teams at the world cup have to play every four days. If a player is tested positive it would be highly unlikely that this test will be published before the next match. Another concern we haven’t even mentioned yet is the rising risk of the sample to be damaged the longer the transport is.

But to be frank that’s all very much a theory. The probability of a player to be tested positive during the world cup is pretty close to zero. So far only three players were caught during a world cup. Ernst Jean-Joseph (1974) from Haiti and Willie Johnston (1978) from Scotland were caught at a time were doping tests were carried out rather sporadic. Only since 1994 as FIFA states in this document (p. 10) tests are carried out and analysed professionally. In 1994, no other than Diego Maradona was tested positive for ephedrine and was subsequently excluded from the world cup.

After 1994? Absolutely nothing! Over the past four world cups more than 4000 samples were taken and not a single one was positive. So no one’s doping anymore on football’s biggest stage? Or is it the doping controls that are ineffective?

FIFA is eager to praise its own anti-doping fight and the introduction of the biological passport. For the first time, blood and urin parameters are taken to create a biological profile of a player. Tests for the passport have started March 1, the German squad was tested on May 26. Before the world cup, only NADA might test the German players again, but those results won’t be included in the biological passport. Other national teams were tested as well, but some player missed the FIFA tests. We started this Google Document where you can read all tests from every country. Feel free to share additional information.

–> LET US COLLABORATE. SPREAD OUR GOOGLE DOC. <– 
Don’t get me wrong, the passport is the right way to go. But in the current state it has hardly any value. So considering the logistic challenges it would be a massive surprise if a world cup player will be tested positive.

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track-fbd-1

Doping in football

Fifa doping controls: Help us tracking!

FIFA announced one new rule in the run-up to the World Cup 2014: All players of all teams should be tested with blood and urin for the so-called biological profile prior to start of the competition. We are trying to track every doping control made by FIFA prior to the upcoming World Cup. Help us to miss nothing and get the complete picture.

von Jonathan Sachse

Tests for the passport have started March 1 and can go on until June 11. We started one open Google Document. If you read or know something about doping controls by FIFA in your country or national team, you can add these information in the document. Of course you can also shot us a message below or write us on twitter or Facebook and we will add your research in our table.

Have you heard about Ezequiel Lavezzi who missed the doping control in his training camp? Yeah, one reason why we should be keeping an eye on the FIFA doping controls.

Help us tracking. Share this message with your (international) friends.

Thank you so much in advance!

Have you already read our article about the long anti-doping flights from Brasil to Switzerland? If not: Here you go.

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correctiv_logo_eng

Doping in football

fussballdoping.de is now part of CORRECTIV

Our project fussballdoping.de is now a part of CORRECT!V, Germany’s first non-profit investigative reporting center.

von Daniel Drepper

Thanks to the support of CORRECTIV, the project will receive fresh wind and the time to pursue its own research. Fussballdoping.de is in it for the long run, our investigations could still take years. For this reason, the platform is a perfect fit for the non-profit structure of CORRECTIV – a project that isn’t looking to generate clicks and profits, but wants to uncover fundamental structural backgrounds and problems to change society for the better.

In the spring of 2012, only a few weeks before the EM in Poland and Ukraine, I founded this site as a blog-project for the investigative unit of the former WAZ media group to systematically research the abuse of doping substances and pain medication in soccer. I had the feeling that the traditional media wasn’t really reporting on the subject. A year later, the website was nominated for the Grimme Online Award. Since last summer, my friend and colleague Jonathan Sachse supports me.

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CORRECTIV ist das erste gemeinnützige Recherchezentrum im deutschsprachigen Raum. Unser Ziel ist eine aufgeklärte Gesellschaft. Denn nur gut informierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger können auf demokratischem Weg Probleme lösen und Verbesserungen herbeiführen. Diese Recherche wurde mit der Unterstützung unserer Fördermitglieder realisiert. Jetzt spenden!

Thanks to all readers, supporters and friends
During the past months and years, we’ve had so much fun doing what we’re doing. We continue to be amazed by the many responses and support from strangers we consistently receive. You have proven to us that the project is important, that it can and should continue with the help of our readers, users, and co-researchers. CORRECTIV is the perfect fit for this. Jonathan and I have been working here as full-time reporters since July. Now, fussballdoping.de is an official part as well. The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung released our blog. We are now able run it officially with CORRECTIV.

CORRECTIV is Germany’s first non-profit investigative reporting center. The project is supported through large and small donations as well as membership fees. CORRECTIV doesn’t make profits. Instead, it invests every cent directly into investigative journalism. Members receive insight into our research, invitations to events or eBooks (here’s a list of all the advantages https://www.correctiv.org/warum-werde-ich-mitglied/). In addition, all donations for the project are tax deductible.

Support? Become a member of CORRECTIV
We from fussballdoping.de welcome each new member of CORRECTIV. The more of us, the stronger we become. Over the past couple of years, we’ve run fussballdoping.de on our own time and money. Now, those who want to support us can finally do so – by becoming a member of CORRECTIV.

© Nigel Trebelin / AFP

Doping in football

Doping controls at the World Cup: Rather PR than serious testing

FIFA had a keen plan: Every player at the World Cup was supposed to be tested at least once before the start of the tournament. Well, it didn’t happen. The rather large number of 62 players (that’s almost three complete squads) were not tested before the World Cup. No problem for FIFA, they just tested those players during the tournament. Another issue is the travel time of doping tests. That was much longer than expected and a positive test could have led to severe consequences. Taken all this into account, we had pretty good reasons to look for some weak spots.

von Jonathan Sachse

For FIFA, it was all a massive success: 91,5 per cent of the targeted amount of doping tests were carried out. However, 62 players were not tested before the tournament. Before the World Cup, we made a public call to keep a close eye on the doping controls. If you look at the result you easily see that many players were simply not available for the initial controls.

One case makes it pretty clear how easy a player could trick the FIFA control system. On May 27, FIFA testers arrived at the training camp of Argentina. Every player except Ezequiel Lavezzi was there. PSG striker Lavezzi had left the camp citing personal reasons shortly before the doping inspectors arrived. Julio Grondona, president of Argentina’s football federation, personally signed Lavezzi’s excuse. It had nothing to do with doping, Grondona claimed.

As most of the pre-tournament tests were carried out in May, most players of Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid missed those tests. We asked FIFA about that and received this answer: „In accordance with FIFA anti-doping regulations, the remaining players can and will be tested at any time during the competition“.

On July 7, FIFA announced at a press conference that they have tested those 62 players in the meantime. However, we can’t really prove if that’s true. The only sure thing is that five players of Costa Rica were tested additionally to the two players normally tested after the match against Italy.

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Those additional tests were communicated by FIFA. However, the fact is that those tests can hardly be described as an out-of-competition control. They were foreseeable and completely without the element of surprise.

We confronted 23 national teams where players haven’t been tested before the World Cup concerning to our list. We simply asked if we were right, which players were concerned and if those were tested later. We received only one answer. Here’s what Australia officials wrote: „All members of our 30 man provisional squad were tested before we departed Australia and we have had regular testing after every match. Outside that it’s not appropriate to discuss individuals.“

By the way, all 674 blood and urin samples taken before the World Cup came back negative. Also all in-competition controls until the semifinals were negative. Those tests were flewn from Brasil to Lausanne. As logistics turned out to be rahter complicated, FIFA was quite lucky no positive test came up. Because if there was an analysis before the next match would have been almost impossible. We wrote about this issue quite detailed a couple of weeks ago.

FIFA medics Jiri Dvorak and Michael D’Hooghe gave some insight on the transport issue on July 7. It took averagely 37 hours for every test from venue to laboratory (Wire copy in German). That is quite some time above our estimation of 24 hours. And even with a travel time of one full day it would not have been possible to have a final analysis before the next match for the concerned player/team.

In the end it was another World Cup without doping for FIFA. Since 1994 there hasn’t been a positive test during a tournament. However, more people become suspicious about doping in football. One of them is Germany’s Home Secretary Thomas de Maizière: „It stands out that there are no positive tests, despite the heat, despite the exciting style of football. But probability as well as analogy to other big sporting events speaks to the contrary.“

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Doping in football

We’re starting a newsletter

Tomorrow we at fussballdoping.de are starting a newsletter. From time to time, we'll keep you updated about our work and our results by email.

von Daniel Drepper

Over the last few months more than 300 people subscribed to our newsletter. Thanks a bunch. Meanwhile we got a bit more resources to work on fussballdoping.de through our work at the non-profit investigative newsroom CORRECTIV. Enough to finally start a newsletter on painkillers and doping in football – in addition to our facebook-page and our twitter-handle.

Through our newsletter we will tell some background stories, we will post unpublished thoughts and links to other media as well as links to new posts on this blog. The newsletter will be sent sporadicly, we won’t be another spambot in your inbox. If anyone wants to subscribe to the mailing list, please do so on the right. The list will also be available as an RSS feed.

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CORRECTIV ist das erste gemeinnützige Recherchezentrum im deutschsprachigen Raum. Unser Ziel ist eine aufgeklärte Gesellschaft. Denn nur gut informierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger können auf demokratischem Weg Probleme lösen und Verbesserungen herbeiführen. Diese Recherche wurde mit der Unterstützung unserer Fördermitglieder realisiert. Jetzt spenden!

By the way: Thanks to the support of CORRECTIV we were able to hire an intern for the months of February. Beginning next week Fabian Scheler will work with us for at least four weeks. In the past Fabian published with ZEIT ONLINE, among others. You can also reach him via twitter. We’re looking forward to his first pieces.

In case you want to support our work, you can do this by supporting CORRECTIV. The non-profit newsroom employs Jonathan and me full time and makes the work at fussballdoping.de possible. You can donate to CORRECTIV or become a member. Both can be deducted from your taxes, since we’re officially a non-profit organisation. As a member of CORRECTIV you also get access to our community with background stories, eBooks and access to our reporters.

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Doping in football

68 European football stars on steroids?

Almost eight percent of all European football stars could be on steroids. That is the result of an official study founded by UEFA. More than 4000 tests from close to 900 professional players habe been re-tested. The values of close to every twelth player were suspicious. Since the tests were anonymised, none of the 68 players will be charged. Still, the times of "doping is no problem in football" are over. We took a look at the study – and we show you where you can find it yourself.

von Daniel Drepper

The scientists looked at 4195 tests from European competitions. The doping controls were taken from Dezember 2007 through middle of 2013. The scientists looked on average at almost five tests per player. 68 players came back with the suspicion of steroid doping.

More than two thirds from Champions League

The suspicious players are playing for the leading teams in Europe. The study says that 62,9 percent of the controls were taken in Champions League games. And more than eight out of ten tests were taken from players within the biggest ten federations. Until now UEFA always referred to an average of 1,3 percent positive controls – the difference to the detected 7,7 percent is huge. The scientists write that there might be other explanations for some positive results and that the process of the study – twelve laboratories were involved – might have altered some of the results.

The UEFA just announced Here you can read the study for six dollars.

The study only looked at steroids. We have to add all players who might use other performance enhancing substances like blood doping or human growth hormone. Two years ago we published a piece about a study done by the physician of the German national team, Tim Meyer. It showed nine suspicious blood values in German Bundesliga.

It’s good that UEFA commissioned such a study. Now we have a much better window into the real spread of doping in football. And it seems that UEFA is going to do something about it. We will see if that’s enough.

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There are (at least) three open questions at the moment:

1) Why did UEFA have such a pr campaign for their new anti-doping-program over the last weeks – but did not mention the (already published) study once?

2) Why did UEFA anonymise the players names?

3) Will UEFA now take another look at recent tests from the Champions League to test for steroids?

We put these questions to the UEFA media team and will update this piece as soon as we get an answer.


– See more at: http://fussballdoping.correctiv.org/en/2015/09/68-european-football-stars-on-steroids/#sthash.T4czEph7.dpuf

© unsplash.com / Dorian Mongel

Doping in football

footballdrugs on vacation

von Daniel Drepper

We are on vacation for three weeks, flying to the US, I’m over there for a year now. We are back in August, then writing from Newy York. Until then the comments are closed.

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CORRECTIV ist das erste gemeinnützige Recherchezentrum im deutschsprachigen Raum. Unser Ziel ist eine aufgeklärte Gesellschaft. Denn nur gut informierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger können auf demokratischem Weg Probleme lösen und Verbesserungen herbeiführen. Diese Recherche wurde mit der Unterstützung unserer Fördermitglieder realisiert. Jetzt spenden!

Germany Training & Press Conference - UEFA EURO 2012

Doping in football

Müller-Wohlfahrt: How does he work?

Every time Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt declares a diagnosis the world of football believes him. Athletes from all over the world fly to Munich to get treated by the team doctor of Bayern Munich and the German national federation DFB. But experts critizise his work and his advertisement for food supplements. How does Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt work?

von Daniel Drepper

Mario Götze doesn’t play on Saturday at Wembley because he didn’t get fit. Götze lived in Munich for a couple of days last week, but Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt didn’t treat him – that’s important for Borussia Dortmund before the Champions League Final this Saturday. Borussia spokesman Sascha Fligge does not answer further questions from footballdrugs.com these days. Would Götze be fit on Saturday if Müller-Wohlfahrt had treated him? And: Is there a conflict of interest for Müller-Wohlfahrt, who treats nearly every star player in Germany and many other international athletes, too?

The discussion around Götze is not an isolated case, Müller-Wohlfahrt regularly treats footballers from rival clubs. “You acquired an incredible confidence so that other clubs have sent their players to you even when a match against Bayern was ahead,” said the president of DFB, Wolfgang Niersbach, on Müller-Wohlfahrt’s 70th Birthday last year. Often Müller-Wohlfahrt’s diagnosis determines, whether a player makes the starting line-up or has to sit on the bench. A huge position of power. Who is the doctor, the German players trust in with blind faith? And has he earned this trust?

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We did some research on Müller-Wohlfahrt over the last couple of months. We didn’t translate the whole thing into English because of several legal threats from Müller-Wohlfahrts lawyer. We didn’t want to risk a lawsuit because of a small wording failure. You can find our whole article on the German version of this website.

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The research on Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt and medical treatments in football goes on. Do you have any hints? You can shoot us an e-mail. You can also sent us an anonymous message thanks to our encrypted upload-platform. We are waiting for your messages.

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Doping in football

Holey doping tests all over Europe

The doping tests in Europe's top football leagues are full of holes. Still, there have been more than 300 doping cases in the last couple of years. An investigation for Spiegel Online done by fussballdoping.de looked into the different anti doping systems in European football.

von Daniel Drepper

The German football federation DFB says that they have the second best doping control system in the whole world. We looked into that statement. We asked football federations and anti doping agencies in 20 countries, read their annual reports and also WADA reports. After that we produced a multimedia feature for the biggester German news website Spiegel Online. The piece was published today.

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Common theme is a feature about a doping control at one Bundesliga game in Nürnberg a couple of weeks ago. A map of Europe shows the differences in different anti doping systems. And an animated clip explains the German way of testing for doping in football.

Here you go: Our piece at Spiegel Online (in German)

© Nigel Trebelin / AFP

Doping in football

Signed: Bundesliga to carry out blood tests

Germany’s national anti-doping agency NADA paid a surprise visit to the country’s football team a day before their match against Paraguay. However, just one player was tested and due to privacy regulations it isn’t even clear if NADA took a blood sample of this player. The reason NADA took only one sample is the agency’s limited budget. Every single test gets deducted from the annual budget that is made available by Germany’s football association DFB.

von Jonathan Sachse

“NADA has signed a contract with the DFB“, a NADA spokeswomen told soccerdrugs.com. However, she was not authorized to give any further details expect from: „NADA decides which kind of tests will be carried out in out of competition tests. It will not pass on important urine samples and combine the procedure with taking blood samples wherever it makes sense. We will take blood samples in about 15 per cent of all out of competition tests. There will be a total of 500 out of competition tests.“

Okay, we’ll quickly do the math: 15 per cent of 500 tests. That would make 75 blood samples and 425 urine samples taken from about 1000 players per year. As the majority of tests will be carried out at the national team, an ordinary Bundesliga player won’t have a lot to fear. Bear in mind that players can only be tested within official training times. Surprising visits to the homes of the athletes, which is a standard procedure in many other sports, in football only happen to internationals.

More tests are only going to happen if the DFB provides more money. But the federation is not so keen on that. Which is rather astonishing as previous tests (only urine) just cost the DFB 350,000 Euros. It seems a ridiculous amount of money if you put that in relation to the DFB’s revenue of more than two billion Euros. Again, we are glad to do the math for you: It is 0.02 per cent.

[Update 28.8.]DFB says in an off-the-record conversation at his base in Frankfurt it pays 700,000 Euros for both out-of-competition and competition testing. NADA only receives only 200,000 Euros of that amount so it is in fact even less than we had calculated earlier. [End of update]

„An increase of the number of tests would surely be possible, but NADA has chosen the right path with the introduction of blood tests in football. This will allow NADA a further development of its testing system“, NADA tells soccerdrugs.com.

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The annoying point of this development is however, that it all happens in slow motion. If the DFB doesn’t implement changes in his own lacking testing system most players won’t be testing neither out-of-competition nor in competition.

For a footballer it is quite easy to do the maths this time to figure out the possibility of getting tested. In 2012, NADA carried out 1,644 urine tests. Sounds like a massive number, doesn’t it. Problem is however, that the number of athletes is even bigger. DFB tests in 13 different leagues as well as in the DFB Pokal, the German cup competition. That makes 5,000 players to test. A little math again: Every player has to provide a doping test every three years. Maybe a little more often in the Bundesliga as the amount of tests is higher the better the level is.

At least there finally are blood tests in the Bundesliga. The long way to the first blood samples being taken is well documented here (although in German, sorry for that).

You’ll find even more background information about the problems in German football concerning anti-doping measures in our stories at Deutsche Welle and 11Freunde.

translated by Thomas Bachmann