The German Football Association (DFB) has rejected allegations the West German national team used performance-enhancing drugs during the 1966 World Cup.
A comprehensive doping study by Berlin’s Humboldt University, commissioned by the Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp), continues to dominate the headlines in Germany. The study, released on Monday, showed the West German state had sponsored research into performance-enhancing drugs and that, by the early 1970s, the programme had become systematic.
The report focuses on an array of sports, and football is, for now, still only a side note in the public discussion. However, the report also links the West German national teams of 1954, 1966 and 1974, which all reached the World Cup final, with doping.
A letter from a FIFA official, written in 1966 but which first resurfaced in 2011, had reported that “fine traces” of ephedrine, a banned stimulant, had been found in three unnamed West Germany players during the World Cup in England.
DFB vice-president Dr Rainer Koch told the association’s official website that it was “not a new topic for us” in light of the 2011 revelation and said the governing body “did not know about [the letter] before it was made public”. He also stressed that the body believed that the team did not contravene the doping rules introduced at the 1966 tournament.
“The expert opinion should clarify whether, under sports law, German national players had been in violation of the anti-doping rules during the 1966 World Cup,” Koch added. “The expert opinion, by renowned law expert Professor Nolte from the Cologne Physical Education College, states: That was not the case.”
Meanwhile, Johan Cruyff, part of the Netherlands team that went down to a surprise 2-1 defeat to West Germany in the 1974 final, has said he did not notice anything out of the ordinary during the match.
“To be honest, I cannot remember whether there had been any doping tests at that time,” the former Ajax and Barcelona star wrote in his column for Dutch paper De Telegraaf. “During the final, I, at least, noticed nothing odd.”
He said the 1974 German side “were better physically developed” but added: “Everyone said that’s down to them drinking more beer.”
The late Hungary star Ferenc Puskas had accused West Germany of doping in a French newspaper following the 1954 final, known as “The Miracle of Bern”, when Hungary were defeated 3-2. Puskas wrote to the German authorities to apologise for his remarks ahead of the 1960 European Cup final, when his Real Madrid team took on Eintracht Frankfurt.