Jonathan Sachse

Leiter CORRECTIV.Lokal 

Sein Fokus liegt auf Investigativen Recherchen, gerne im Lokalen und in Verbindung mit Crowd-Recherchen. Zu seinen Kernthemen zählt der Medikamentenmissbrauch und Doping im Sport sowie Recherchen zu fragwürdigen Eigentümern am Immobilienmarkt.

Jonathan ist Gründungsmitglied von CORRECTIV. Als Reporter liebt er es mit möglichst unterschiedlichen Methoden zu Missständen in unserer Gesellschaft zu recherchieren und arbeitet dabei gerne in Teams. Gemeinsam mit Kollegen baute er den CrowdNewsroom auf. Eine Plattform, auf der Journalistinnen und Bürger gemeinsam recherchieren können. In den vergangenen Jahren recherchierte er zu den unterschiedlichsten Themen. Darunter: Spendengerichteeinen Krankenhaus-Raub, Missstände in der Diakonie, die Entstehung eines umstrittenen Gesetzes, dubiosen Eigentümern am Wohnungsmarkt und seit Jahren zu Schmerzmittelmissbrauch und Doping im Fußball.

Als Jonathan mithilfe hunderter Bürger die finanzielle Notlage von Sparkassen offenlegte, geriet ein Sparkassensprecher in Rage. Nicht nur wegen der Enthüllungen, sondern weil er dabei auch noch Socken im Markenrot der Sparkassen trug. Für diese Bürgerrecherche gewann CORRECTIV 2016 den Reporterpreis in der Kategorie „Innovation”. Im Jahr 2019 wurde ein weiteres CrowdNewsroom-Projekt ausgezeichnet, an dem Jonathan mitarbeitete. Die Immobilienrecherche „Wem gehört Hamburg?“ erhielt den Grimme Online Award.

Vor seiner Zeit bei CORRECTIV arbeitete Jonathan als freier Journalist, unter anderem für Zeit Online, Spiegel Online und Deutschlandfunk sowie in einer Kommunikationsagentur.

Sie können Jonathan jederzeit per E-Mail erreichen (siehe unten). Wenn Sie einen sicheren Kommunikationsweg bevorzugen, finden Sie auf Keybase seinen PGP-Schlüssel oder Sie schreiben ihm auf Threema (S63CK66M). Per Post erreichen Sie ihn unter: CORRECTIV z. Hd. Jonathan Sachse/ Singerstr. 109/ 10179 Berlin

E-Mail: jonathan.sachse(at)
Twitter: @jsachse


A Kick On Pills – Painkillers in Football

The abuse of painkillers is a major issue in football. A year-long investigation. Interviews with over 150 people, including players, doctors and experts. A survey with more than 1,100 participants from German amateur football leagues. The #KickonPills investigation by CORRECTIV and the ARD Doping Editorial Team sheds light on a system that sidelines health for wealth.

to the research 17 minutes

© 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?

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

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


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.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

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:



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.

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.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!


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.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

© 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.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

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.“

von Jonathan Sachse

Every year German judges and prosecutors hand out tens of millions of Euros from closed criminal proceedings – and hardly anyone takes notice. We want to change that and are now publishing the flow of money. A first story can be found today in the Munich newspaper “tz”. You can also read the whole report including a detailed database on our website.

>>>> To the website:

This investigation into court donations is our first story that is strictly driven by data. In the past weeks we were busy collecting data on payments arranged by judges and prosecutors to charitable organizations. The judicial authorities gave us piles of names and numbers. Most of it was in a disordered jumble. Some sent us scanned documents that were hardly machine-readable; from others we received well-organized Excel tables that were easy for us to process.

Other journalists have tried to compile such an overview in the past. So far everyone has failed. Resistance from the authorities was too great. At best, a few individual courts offered data on the flows of payments.

We too have not accomplished everything we set out to do: Baden-Württemberg has only provided data on the top 3 recipients of money in the years 2011 to 2013. Allegedly, the data was not properly collected. The Hesse judiciary is refusing to fully cooperate. Without any further explanation and in a purely arbitrary move, the ministry has not yet released data for the years 2012 and 2013. The Landgericht (Regional Court) Munich 2 says that no data is available for 2012 due to a “technical error”, saying that the data has been “lost”. And the Stralsund prosecutor’s office has no idea who received what amount in 2011.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

After we compiled all available data, our data journalist Stefan Wehrmeyer created a database that anyone can now access on the internet. Our goal: people should have a tool to help them see which associations in their city or community receive money from the judiciary.

We publish this data with a goal: we want the court donations to be transparent. And we want to help decrease the judiciary’s susceptibility to corruption. If everyone can see who receives money arranged by judges and prosecutors, the risk of someone trying to funnel money into their own pocket is reduced.

And now it’s your turn: give us a hand and look into our database. Do you see anything suspicious? Have judges given money to an association they are a member of? Or to clubs that have questionable aims?

If you work at a local newspaper or a local radio station we invite you to use our work. Find and publish the data for your city. Perhaps your readers will notice things you can use for future stories. Whether in Herne, Erfurt or Flensburg. You can find results for almost every city in our database.

Finally, if you like our work, you can become a member of CORRECTIV and provide lasting support for independent investigations in the public interest.

Court Donations

Court Donations

In recent years, defendants in Germany have paid hundreds of millions of Euros to close criminal proceedings. Judges and prosecutors hand out the largest portion of this money – with hardly any oversight. This lack of transparency makes the system susceptible to corruption, says a spokesman for the senator of justice in Hamburg.


von Jonathan Sachse

The application phase for fellowships during the second half of 2015 is entering the final stage.

CORRECTIV and the Rudolf Augstein Foundation have agreed on a strategic cooperation to further education in data journalism. The first fellowships started in January. Until March 15th you can apply for the second fellowship round.

The joint goal: „We want to strengthen data-driven investigative journalism in Germany“, says Stephanie Reuter, director of the Rudolf Augstein Foundation.

As part of the „Rudolf-Augstein-Fellowship for Data Journalism at CORRECTIV“, at least ten journalists will receive the opportunity to realize a data-driven research project. The fellows will work at the CORRECTIV offices and have access to the entire resources of our newsroom.

In this way, we hope to pass on our knowledge to others. We believe that there are many regional projects that can be realized with the help of data-driven research, bringing great use to those affected locally and elsewhere.

The fellowship is targeted towards fully employed as well as freelance journalists from local and regional media outlets. Fellows will become temporary members of the CORRECTIV newsroom for up to two months. They will receive help with data collection, administration and visualization for their own projects. Their stories will be published in cooperation with our newsroom.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

Half of the fellowships will be awarded to women. International applicants are welcome.

The next fellowships will begin during the second half of 2015. Applications can be sent to: fellow (at)

Please include the following in your application:

  • CV
  • Short description of the idea you want to realize. Your project must be data-driven.
  • Research plan and timetable as well as the desired date of entry

All fellowships will be individually tailored to the needs of the applicant so that the project can be optimally realized. We will negotiate an individual salary with each fellow. We will also provide financial means for research.

Contact for inquires:

CORRECTIV: David Schraven (+49 172 563 26 99 /

Rudolf Augstein Foundation: Stephanie Reuter (+49 40 554 40 333 /

© 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 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

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

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


von Jonathan Sachse

Lehmann writes about his time at Arsenal London: He and his teammates took infusions “without asking any questions” and with “blind faith in the physicians”. He believes that the physicians didn’t give any illegal substances, but he is not a hundred percent sure about that.

Lehmann speaks out clearly: To be ready to play as soon as possible to him it is “worthy of discussion” that it is forbidden to give an injured player “performance enhancing substances” while he is in rehab training. After all football players have to be – according to Lehmann – in shape really fast, to protect their position on the team and to negotiate new contracts. Lehmann says it is necessary to see “at which instant of time you are taking these illegal substances”. His conclusion: Doping to accelerate the healing process is alright. If doping has an effect on the performance in competitions, it should be still illegal.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

Jens Lehmanns column shows again that a lot of football players have a different point of view on doping as it is defined by the World Anti Doping Agency (which has a very clear list of forbidden substances and methods). Bernd Schuster said that it should be alright to take illegal substances to regenerate between games. Franz Beckenbauer talked about his so called “vitamin injections” whose content he couldn’t name.

contact to the author:
Twitter: @jsachse
Telefon: +49 151 40522403

Doping in football

Sepp Blatter on drug-fight: „We lag behind“

Sepp Blatter surprised with some rather critic statements on FIFA’s fight against doping. The president of football’s world governing body not only confirmed that the sport has a doping problem, but Blatter also says FIFA lags far behind in the fight against doping especially in detecting new drugs. In the case of Germany, Blatter claims the country needs to implement an anti-doping law in order to attack the issue of doping in football.

von Daniel Drepper , Jonathan Sachse

So far, Sepp Blatter never really appeared too keen to address the doping issue in football. However, what he said in a public talk in Zurich organised by German weekly DIE ZEIT might have surprised many of Blatter’s critics. Parts of the interview were published in the current issue of DIE ZEIT.

„We lag behind [in the fight against doping]“, Blatter says and also admits that a proper solution is far from being introduced. However, Blatter doesn’t address the inefficient testing system in football but pointed the finger at the world’s anti-doping agency WADA which from his point of view is too slow in becoming capable of detecting new drugs.

Last week, the chief medic oft he German national team, Tim Meyer, gave DIE ZEIT a couple of quotes concerning fussballdoping’s story about suspicious blood values of Bundesliga players. Meyer says it would be the best solution for Germany if the testing will be carried out by an independent organisation like the country’s anti-doping agency NADA. Blatter refuses to comment on that specific issue, but urges Germany to implement an anti-doping law. He believes that only with the law installed „NADA can really get going“.

CORRECTIV ist spendenfinanziert!

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. Mit Ihrer Spende ermöglichen Sie unsere Arbeit. Jetzt unterstützen!

You should believe that Sepp Blatter knows quite well when and where to drop certain comments as he is not a greenhorn when it comes to communication. However, in the case of Germany he is utterly wrong. It was only last week when NADA made a public call for topping up its budget. Otherwise NADA would have to cut its budget by another 20 per cent in 2014. So it is plain to see that it’s NADA that needs more money instead of Germany needing an anti-doping law. There is no doubt that tighter laws would increase the power of NADA concerning the cooperation with the authorities, but they will still have to rely on sports law not public law.

To sum it up, it is rather nice to see the issue of doping in football appear in DIE ZEIT in two consecutive weeks. However, the paper just focuses on interviews instead of own investigation. It would have been quite easy to double-check many of Blatter’s and Meyer’s quotes in a proper story. But we drag the positive things out of it anyway and clearly see that more and more media put their attention to doping in football.

translation: Thomas Bachmann