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West German doping probe sparks concern

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West German doping probe sparks concern
17:52 CEST+02:00
Politicians expressed concern Sunday and called for light to be shed on a report that West Germany conducted systematic doping in sports in the 1970s backed by the government.

State-sponsored doping is known to have gone on in communist East Germany,

but a newspaper citing the report by a Berlin university team says organised

doping also happened "to a frightening extent" in West Germany.

Based on interviews with more than 50 witnesses, the team from Humboldt

University spent three years researching the 800-page "Doping in Germany from

1950 until today" report which has not yet been published.

However a version of the study dating from 2012 was seen by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which revealed Saturday that doping occurred in numerous fields, including athletics and soccer.

The report said doping became systemic after the establishment in October 1970 of the Institute for Sport Science (BISp) which fell under the interior ministry.

The institute gathered the elite from sports science and sporting federations and for decades coordinated tests with performance enhancing substances such as anabolic steroids and the blood booster erythropoetin (EPO), according to the report.

The report claims that some politicians at the time knew of the doping and cited a witness as saying an unidentified interior minister had said "our athletes are to have the same pre-conditions and terms as the eastern bloc athletes".

Women and minors were also apparently subject to doping tests, the study claimed.

It also includes suspicions relating to football from before the 1970s. According to a letter from a Fifa official, traces of ephedrine were found in three unnamed West German members of the 1966 World Cup final squad against England, the study claims.

Politicians from different political stripes called for a probe.

"I want to know what's in it," chief whip of the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, Thomas Oppermann, said.

Wolfgang Bosbach, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that such a practice could "in no respect be justified or excused".

And Joachim Günther, of Merkel's junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats, called for a special session of the sports committee in the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

"Sport must proceed under fair conditions. Therefore an extensive clarification of the incidents specified in the study is necessary," he said in a statement.

Former East German cyclist Uwe Trömer, who was a victim of doping, expressed little surprise over the claims.

"We've known for years that of course also in West Germany doping has been

used," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Former interior minister Hans Dietrich Genscher told Bild am Sonntag he believed it "completely impossible" that politicians pressed West German athletes into doping ahead of the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

"I wouldn't know who's supposed to have carried out such pressure," he was

quoted by the paper as saying.

But Walther Tröger, who from 1961 to 1992 was general secretary of the

National Olympic Committee, denied there was systematic doping in West Germany.

"I don't believe there was systematic doping under the interior ministry, the institute for sport science and the sport organisations," he told local DPA news agency.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said it had a "great interest in a complete clarification and evaluation of the doping past in both parts of Germany" and that the study was to be made public.

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