Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - Page 18 News List

West Germany cultivated culture of doping: study

‘SYSTEMIC’:As researchers investigated allegations of government-backed doping, they were denied access to some archives and found key files had been destroyed


The BISp began developing “systemic doping structures” in 1972, financing experiments to “improve” anabolic steroids, conducting extensive research on testosterone, estrogen, hormones, growth hormones and insulin, it said.

Cologne doctor and professor Wildor Hollmann, who spoke against the use of anabolic steroids on health and ethical grounds, was financed by the BISp to investigate the “influence of blood transfusions” in 1973. The results revealed a “possible doping effect,” according to a BISp file from 1991.

Work with the blood-booster EPO began on March 11, 1988 — two weeks after the Winter Olympics in Calgary, following rumors that Soviet cross-country skiers had used it to improve their performances.

The historians uncovered a letter from FIFA medical committee chairman Mihailo Andrejevic regarding “very fine traces” of the banned stimulant ephedrine that had been found in three unnamed West Germany players at the 1966 World Cup.

The German soccer federation refused access to its archives, the report says.

The researchers also struggled to access official documents covered by a 30-year secrecy rule, and Spitzer told broadcaster RBB Inforadio that all the important files related to doping were destroyed before the project could begin.

Files did reveal that anabolic steroids were being used by West German athletes as early as 1960. Sports organizations played down studies showing the serious side effects of steroids.

Researchers said that effective controls were only introduced in the late 1980s, and that doping was prevalent even after 1991.

A detailed analysis of the period up to 2008 was not possible, the report says, “due to complexity.”

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