KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS —- A new doping scandal has erupted in the Bundesliga to touch a raw old nerve in German football.
An inquiry by a sports medicine evaluation commission in Freiburg in south-west Germany has reported the use of anabolic steroids in the 1970s and 1980s and indicated, in particular, possible involvemen of both local club Freiburg and Stuttgart.
The report has extra resonance because patients of the doctor identified at the heart of the scandal, Armin Klumper, included old Bayern Munich and Germany stars Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner and Uli Hoeness. Also, World Cup-winning national coach Joachim Low played for both clubs between 1978 and 1984. There is no suggestion in the report that any of them were aware of Klumper’s alleged activities.
However old spectres have been raised. National team goalkeeper Toni Schumacher was effectively driven out of the German game in disgrace in the late 1980s for writing about doping in his controversial autobiography Anpfiff.
Publication was especially controversial and unwanted at a time, almost at the end of the Cold War, when East Germany was being painted as the dark side of sport because of its doping systems.
Much further back, in 1954, a shadow was cast over West Germany’s shock victory over Hungary in the World Cup Final by revelations of the use of ‘vitamin’ injections.
Some 18 months ago research commissioned from Berlin’s Humboldt University and the University of Münster by the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp) and the German Olympic sports federation (DOSB) revealed that the Interior Ministry and the BISp themselves had sponsored and financed a programme of ‘systematic doping’ and allied research throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Klumper, now 79, is alleged by the report to have developed a doping system using anabolic steroids for competitors in both football and cycling.
Both clubs rejected the findings of the report.
Stuttgart said, in a statement, that Klümper “was at no time club doctor” and added: “VfB Stuttgart is concerned, in the interests of clean sport, in a full clarification of the facts.”
Freiburg also refuted the accusation and said: “The club, like all Bundesliga clubs, clearly rejects any measures to effect drug abuse and illicit performance improvement.
“The SC Freiburg will fully support and do everything to ensure that the events of that time can be understood.”
The German federation may shortly have to consider whether to refer the issue to its ethics committee.
In the meantime Low was as dismissive of the allegations as the clubs.
He said: “Doping has no place in sport and I disapprove of it completely. That was as true during my playing career as it is true today.”
The veteran coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was a player with Stuttgart in the late 1970s. Hitzfeld, who managed Switzerland at the World Cup last year before retiring, said: “I am very surprised to hear this news. I find it very hard to believe that VfB had been using anabolic steroids.”
However Breitner took what he considered a more pragmatic stance.
The former Bayern and Germany star confirmed that he had consulted Klumper on one occasion but solely for advice on a cartilage problem.
However he said it had always been a lie to attack East Germany for systematic doping while pretending that the west had always been squeaky clean.
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