Officials to publish doping study

Germany’s Interior Ministry will publish a report that claims West Germany’s athletes were systematically doped with government backing for years.

Ministry spokesman Philipp Spauschus said Monday that the privacy issues which had delayed the publication of the report titled "Doping in Germany from 1950 to today" had been cleared, though he didn’t say whether passages would be redacted.

On Saturday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published details from the unreleased 800-page report, alleging that the state financed experiments with performance-enhancing substances including anabolic steroids, testosterone, estrogen and EPO, going back to 1970 at least.

The study was conducted by researchers under the leadership of Giselher Spitzer at Berlin’s Humboldt University and completed in April, but publication had been postponed indefinitely due to legal issues over publishing names.

The investigation was initiated by the German Olympic Sports Confederation in 2008 and commissioned by the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp), which provided about 525,000 euros ($700,000) toward it.

While the findings are eagerly awaited, Spitzer told broadcaster RBB Inforadio on Monday that all the important files related to doping were destroyed before the project could begin. He said they were shredded as part of a clearing process.

"It all happened quite officially," Spitzer said. "According to the federal archives act, files from federal agencies — such as the Institute of Sport Science — are regularly dispensed with. The Federal Archive checks them to see if they’re worth archiving. Only the joke is that, for example with these doping files for anabolic steroids or growth hormones, please, who in the Federal Archive is going to know what could be important if you don’t point it out?"

Spitzer accused the BISp of only passing on some of the available information for years in an effort to conceal what was really going on.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung saw an unfinished version of the report, enough to claim that West German politicians turned a blind eye to — and even sanctioned — drug use among athletes to ensure international success.

The report allegedly claims BISp financed research into doping substances for years after it was established under jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry in 1970

Spitzer told The Associated Press last year that the historians’ research had shown there were links between doping research carried out in the name of the BISp and in athletes’ use of forbidden substances.

Apparently there was doping in Germany long before the establishment of the BISp, however.

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

Pervitin was used by German soldiers during World War II, and the newspaper claimed the use of amphetamine-related substances became "normal" in German football from the end of the 1940s.

As part of the research, 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.

Sueddeutsche also claimed the report showed minors were also doped. Freiburg doctor Joseph Keul, who died in 2000, allegedly tested the effects of anabolic steroids on boys as young as 11.

Last 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 Olympics, citing a file from the Federal Archives in Koblenz. f Sport Science, which provided about 525,000 euros ($70,000) toward it.