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Historic doping scandal sparks German concern

Germany's Olympic boss calls for early publication of a damning report into alleged historic West German doping.

Last Modified: 04 Aug 2013 16:39
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A team from Humboldt University spent three years researching the 800-page report [GETTY]

German Olympic Sports Confederation President Thomas Bach has called for the early publication of a report that claims West Germany's athletes were systematically doped with government backing for years.

On Saturday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper publicised details from the unpublished report titled "Doping in Germany from 1950 to today,'' which said the state financed experiments with performance-enhancing substances including anabolic steroids, testosterone, estrogen and EPO.

"I initiated this project to get to the bottom of it and to allow (the findings) to be worked on,'' Bach, who is an International Olympic Committee presidential candidate, told the dpa news agency on Sunday.

"That's why we (the confederation) hope to receive the final report as soon as possible.''

The report was commissioned by the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp) on behalf of the confederation in 2008 and completed in April. Its publication has been delayed due to privacy concerns and legal issues over publishing names.

"In the sense of the greatest possible transparency, we would appreciate if the final report is also immediately made available to the public,'' Bach said.

He added that the confederation will "take all necessary steps'' after the 800-page report's findings are examined.

Damning report

The report was put together by researchers at Berlin's Humboldt University, with Giselher Spitzer as the project leader.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung saw an unfinished version of the report from 2012, and reported that West German politicians were allegedly willing to turn a blind eye to - and in some cases sanction - drug use among athletes to ensure international success.

Central to the report's claim that athletes were doped with government backing was the establishment in 1970 of the BISp under jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry, which is still responsible for sports.

The BISp financed research into doping substances for years, documents uncovered by the historians under Spitzer's leadership allegedly indicate.

"There's a systemic connection between research and forbidden substances and in using them for athletes,'' Spitzer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview last year.

"That's why we call it systemic doping.''

Doping existed in Germany long before the establishment of the BISp, however.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the historians found that an unspecified number of footballers in the 1954 World Cup-winning team received injections of the methamphetamine Pervitin.

Pervitin had been used by German soldiers during World War II, and Sueddeutsche claimed that German footballers' use of amphetamine-related substances became "normal'' from the end of the 1940s.

The historians uncovered a letter from FIFA medical committee chairman Mihailo Andrejevic regarding ``very fine traces'' of the banned stimulant ephedrine in three unnamed German players at the 1966 World Cup.

Minors were also doped, apparently. Dr. Joseph Keul of Freiburg allegedly tested the effects of anabolic steroids on boys as young as 11. Keul died in 2000.

On Tuesday, the Main-Post and Maerkische Oderzeitung newspapers reported that the BISp funded experiments in Freiburg on the performance of anabolic steroids before the 1972 Olympic Games, citing a file from the Federal Archives in Koblenz.

The Interior Ministry has said that the concerns over data privacy had been addressed, though it did not say when the Humboldt University's report might be published.

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Source:
AP
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