German anti-doping measures criticised
The subject of doping continues to linger over German football as the introduction of blood doping tests in the Bundesliga becomes a major talking point and Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer confirmed he had “vitamin injections” during the 1970s.
In mid-July it was revealed that the German Football League (DFL) and the German Football Association (DFB) will step up their fight against doping in football by using a dual system, with samples of both urine and blood to be tested.
As more details emerged over the past few weeks, the DFL and DFB have both come under fire for not providing sufficient funds to build a solid database about the possible usage and the extent of doping in football.
Both organisations provide funds for testing at training and after matches. The current complication between the two sides mainly focuses on the training tests.
The DFB and DFL have offered to provide a total of €170,000 for all doping tests during the upcoming season. According to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), the body responsible for the tests, this will only be enough for only 100 blood tests across the entire Bundesliga season. Otherwise, NADA would have to greatly reduce the urine tests through which substances like anabolic drugs can be determined.
The ongoing talks between the DFB and DFL on one side and NADA on the other side have so far delayed the introduction of blood tests.
“NADA is currently in final negotiations with the DFB regarding the introduction of blood tests during training in football," a NADA statement for the German football doping blog fussballdoping.de read. "We want to conduct blood tests within a narrow timeframe and would like to think that we will introduce blood tests in the ongoing 2013-14 season."
The level of funding has also been criticised by FIFA chief doctor Professor Jiri Dvoark, who told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: "If you do it, you do it right. It would be the optimum to test all players ahead of a Bundesliga season.”
While Dvoark does not believe that doping is systemically used in football these days, he hoped that science could back up his belief. Extensive blood tests ahead of the season would provide the "basis [for] more tests during the season", adding: "We could then compare the results."
Meanwhile, Franz Beckenbauer has been questioned over an article he wrote 36 years ago. The Germany legend had contributed a report to German news magazine Stern in 1977 which stated: "From a medical point of view, practically everything that boosts the players to top performances and continuous power is still allowed in Bundesliga.
"Not everything that is done with footballers these days is harmless, the boundaries to doping are blurred.”
When confronted with his old statements during a TV show at the weekend, Beckenbauer answered: “I’ve said that? I might have a doppelganger. I am surprised about this piece of art.”
When reassured that indeed he had written those words, Beckenbauer said that doping in football “made no sense. You have a game every third or fourth day”.
Beckenbauer also confirmed that during his playing days he never was forced to take "anything [that] I did not know what it was".
However, shortly afterwards Beckenbauer admitted he had been given “vitamin injections” and did not know what was in there, saying: “Is a vitamin injection performance-enhancing or is it doping? What is doping?”
Last week, the former Netherlands international Johnny Rep had admitted the use of doping in the 1970s. Earlier that week, Franz Beckenbauer had rejected allegations that linked Germany’s 1966 World Cup to doping.