Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has rejected doping allegations against the side that reached the 1966 World Cup final.
A comprehensive doping study by Berlin’s Humboldt University, made public on Monday, continues to create a stir in Germany. Focusing on doping in West Germany across an array of sports between 1949 and 1990, the report implicates the football sides that reached World Cup finals in 1954, 1966 and 1974.
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 1966 World Cup in England.
The German Football Association (DFB) has already rejected allegations the national team used performance-enhancing drugs during the 1966 tournament on the basis of expert opinion provided by renowned law expert Professor Nolte, from the Cologne Physical Education College.
Beckenbauer, who was part of the ’66 squad, also denied the claims.
“No, I was not involved,” Beckenbauer said when asked during the ‘50 years of Bundesliga’ festivities in Berlin whether he knew anything about the matter.
“Back then, we did not know what doping was,” he said in SZ. "We did not even know the word. I wouldn’t know how they should have given it to us. We didn’t know anything back then -- I would have realised otherwise. Even if I was the youngest, I was not that naive.”
Uwe Seeler, who captained the West German side beaten 4-2 by England in the 1966 final, said at the event he had no knowledge of anyone having used performance-enhancing drugs.
“I have never partaken in doping and I don’t know anyone who did,” he said. “If [doping was used], you’d have to give names of those who used doping. In my circle, in my time, I never got to know anyone using doping. We have worked hard, we ran a lot and never had any problems without doping.”
German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball, also attending the celebrations, said he wished to see the complete study before making further comments. Only a 117-page summary has been released to this point.
“We want the complete study -- not a summary, not an annotated edition,” he said in Handelsblatt. “We have the chance to interview the players from 1966, but I cannot imagine an honest sportsman like Uwe Seeler had anything to do with doping.”