K E I R R A D N E D G E R E P O R T I N G
—– No official report was ever compiled or deemed worthy of submission to FIFA about possible doping by West German players at the 1966 World Cup.
Confirmation emerged from the world federation, in response to an inquiry from this writer, amid the outcry prompted by a report into ‘systematic doping’ of sportsmen and women from the Federal Republic in the second half of the 20th century.
Germany’s 1954, 1966 and 1974 World Cup heroes have all come into question from an 800-page report by the Humboldt University in Berlin which had been commissioned by the German Olympic sports federation and the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp).*
The 1954 reference focused on the well-documented ‘infusions’ given to members of the squad which sprang a major shock by winning the World Cup in Bern and about which suspicions had been raised as far back as that very year.
Injections given to the West German players were supposedly vitamins but, according to the report, comprised the stimulant Pervitin, the so-called wartime ‘fighter chocolate’ or ‘Panzer chocolate.’
The 1966 World Cup reference concerned less-well-known concerns around three members of the squad which finished runners-up to hosts England.
Earlier that year FIFA had issued its first anti-doping regulations. These had been formulated on the lines of the principles agreed at an international medical and legal conference organised by the European Council at Strasbourg in September, 1965.
Team delegations were informed ahead of the finals of seven groups of prohibited substances. These included the amphetamine group which would have included ephedrine**.
President of the world federation’s medical sub-committee at that time was Prof. Mihajlo Andrejevic, a FIFA veteran who had been present at every World Cup since 1930 (when he was instrumental in persuading the Yugoslav federation, of which he was then secretary, to send a team to the inaugural finals in Uruguay).
FIFA has said: “According to the official minutes of the World Cup Bureau 1966 held on 25th February, 1967, in the 32 matches no player was found to have used doping substances.”
However, three months earlier on November 29, 1966, Andrejevic had written to Max Danz, president of the German athletics federation (DLV) that tests on three German players had shown faint traces of the stimulant ephedrine. This was detected by simple urine checks which were the only form of dope testing in the early, naive days of sport’s war on cheating.
The three Germans must have been picked up after at least two or more matches since FIFA’s dope-test rules involved choosing only two players of each side at random after a match.
Andrejevic was a former general secretary and president of the Yugoslav federation. A highly-qualified medical specialist, he is considered to have been one of the first senior sports officials to sense the dangers of doping.
The obvious conclusion is that Andrejevic’s own insight persuaded him that the dosages were not significant enough to indicate deliberate doping and suggested the source as having been an over-the-counter cold cure.
Hence the issue was not noted by the FIFA medical sub-committee and any suggestion of deliberate doping was rejected angrily years later by centre back Willi Schulz.
Certainly Danz, judging from his own career record, would not been tempted to take the issue any further. In 1968 the founding president of the DLV excused accusations of steroid use by West German athletes at the Mexico City Olympics on the grounds that such substances were just minor, harmless stimulants.
Andrejevic, born in 1898, spent 50 years in senior roles within FIFA including 38 years on what became the executive committee (between 1938 and 1982 with a break between 1948 and 1954). He attended every World Cup from 1930 to 1982 and died, in 1989, in Belgrade.
One further intriguing question hangs over his tenure: an allegation that some members of Yugoslavia’s national team were injected with a substance referred to as ‘chocolate’ at half-time during their 1974 World Cup qualifying play-off against Spain.
Spain and Yugoslavia had finished level on points and goal difference in their group and had to play off in Frankfurt on February 13, 1974. A 63,000 crowd saw the Slavs make it back to Germany with a 1-0 win on a 13th-minute goal from Josip Katalinski.
The claim about the half-time ‘chocolate’ injections emerged from an Andrejevic family source years later.
The 1974 World Cup coincidence is worth noting since the ‘fighter-chocolate’ connection rears its head in the Humboldt University references to West Germany’s triumph at those very finals. Researchers were apparently told by a team doctor of France, that he understood such a substance had been administered to some members of the West German squad.
France did not qualify for the finals so this allegation may owe something to envious gossip.Since this week’s furore it has been rubbished by Wolfgang Overath, key midfielder in both 1966 and 1974.
Indeed Overath reacted to the entire football sections of the report with derision, saying: “It’s absurd to throw around such sweeping accusations. For my part I can only say that I had nothing to do with doping.”
What is not in doubt is that West German sport was not an innocent party in the Cold War sports duel with the East.
For legal reasons almost all names have been withheld from the published version of the Humboldt report. Many will emerge in due course. A lot of significant reputations are at risk.
* The report is entitled: Doping in Deutschland von 1950 bis heute aus historisch- soziologischer Sicht im Kontext ethischer Legitimation [Doping in Germany from 1950 to today from a historical and sociological perspective in the context of ethical legitimacy].
It can be downloaded from: http://www.bisp.de/cln_330/nn_15924/DE/Aktuelles/Nachrichten/2013/Berichte__WWU__HU.html?__nnn=true
** The list of prohibited drugs of FIFA’s first anti-doping regulations in 1966 contained the following seven substances:
1, Narcotics (morphine, heroin, etc.) according to the internationally agreed list;
2, Drugs of the amphetamine group, including amphetamine itself and its methyl and hydroxy derivations;
4, Diethyl ether;
6, Phenylmethylmorpholine (phenmetrazine); and
7, Dialcoylamides of crotonyl alcoylamino-butyric acid (Micoren).