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May 23, 2014

DFB to introduce match-day blood tests

DFB doctor and vice-president Tim Meyer and Rainer Koch attend Tuesday's doping discussion along with NADA's Andrea Gotzmann and Lars Mortsiefer.
DFB vice-president Rainer Koch (centre-left) at a doping discussion along with NADA officials in 2013.

The German Football Association (DFB) has announced they will step up their fight against doping in football by introducing blood tests on match days.

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In August 2013 -- amid ongoing discussion and investigation of the subject of performance-enhancing drugs following the release of a comprehensive study of systematic doping in West Germany -- the DFB signed an agreement with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to introduce blood-doping tests during training.

The NADA is responsible for doping tests in training and was to carry out 500 doping tests throughout the season: 85 percent of them based on urine samples and the remaining 15 percent based on blood. This totalled 75 tests across the 36 clubs in Germany's top two divisions.

The DFB is solely responsible for postmatch doping tests, and came under fire for only introducing blood tests during training. Vice president Rainer Koch announced further measures are planned.

"Our target is to reach a resolution on the introduction of postmatch blood-doping tests towards the second part of the season," Koch said in August 2013.

While that was not the case, the DFB has now announced that some 120 postmatch blood doping tests are planned throughout the next season.

"In addition to urine tests we will also perform blood tests," Koch told HR info. He added that it is also clear that "blood tests can only have supplementary impact" as most of the performance-enhancing substances can only be found in the urine and not in the blood.

The DFB also announced plans to slightly increase their budget in the fight against doping to 800,000 euros, which is 100,000 euros more than this season.

The new measures have been criticised by the German football doping website fussballdoping.de, who reported that with the current NADA deal running until the end of 2014, the blood doping tests can only be carried out from 2015 onwards if the existing deal is not modulated.

The website says that controls for Bundesliga players remain "too predictable" and argued that with the DFB financing the controls it also determines the "quantity of the controls.

"Moreover, the DFB is also responsible for the results management. This is not an independent Anti-Doping-system," they argued.

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