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.

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.

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