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Didier Deschamps to be questioned on doping


PauloBarnesi
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No doping in football?

 

 

France coach Didier Deschamps has been summoned to appear before a French Senate committee to answer questions about doping in football.

 

 

didierdeschampsvspain_275x155.jpg
APDidier Deschamps played for Juventus from 1994 to 1999

 

 

Deschamps will be questioned under oath by the committee on April 24 as part of a senatorial enquiry into doping in France,L'Equipe reported on Wednesday.

 

The paper states the main line of questioning will focus on the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner's knowledge of doping practices carried out at one of his former clubs, Juventus, where he played between 1994 and 1999.

 

Blood taken from the Bianconeri midfielder during his time in Turin was examined by reputed Italian specialist Professor Giuseppe d'Onofrio, who suggested that the Frenchman's samples showed anomalies, although he stopped short of claiming Deschamps had been the subject of doping.

 

The Juve club doctor at the time, Riccardo Agricola, was sentenced to a year and ten months for 'sporting fraud and the administration of medicines dangerous to the health, including EPO' after a trial in November 2004. Agricola was acquitted on appeal a year later, and no player was ever investigated.

 

The Senate enquiry, which started last month and is due to continue until mid-July, will hear from a number of witnesses before issuing a report that will form the basis of a legislative reform to be drawn up by Valerie Fourneyron, France's Sports Minister, next autumn.

 

In mid-March, the testimony of Marie-George Buffet, Minister for Sport during the 1998 World Cup which France hosted, revealed that she had faced "all sorts of pressure" after an unannounced drugs test was carried out on then coach Aime Jacquet's France squad.

 

"All the media came down on me," Buffet told the committee. "I was accused of not allowing the French team to prepare in the best conditions. I was condemned by public opinion and I gave in."

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Meanwhile, ze West Germans have been doping to the gills since times immemorial

There seems to be no place where we can hide from the drug issues contaminating the joy that sports can provide.

It is bad enough being a New York Yankees follower, now that Alex Rodriguez is finally discredited for, in the words of Major League Baseball, “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited, performance-enhancing substances.”

But what is coming out of Berlin, following a study that looks back to most peoples’ childhood and beyond, means that even our cherished memories might no longer hold credibility.

Germany is historically one of the most revered soccer powers on earth. Its athleticism versus Brazil’s hypnotic beauty or Italy’s tactical nous dominated World Cups over the past 60 years.

Germans — previously as West Germans — always seemed so indomitable in their belief that to run the extra mile meant victory. I recall Franz Beckenbauer, the only man ever to be captain of a World Cup winning side (1974), to coach one (1990) and to organize one (2006), telling me where his inspiration came from. “I was a child of 8,” he said, “when West Germany came from behind to beat the Magical Magyars, Hungary, in the 1954 World Cup.” That final in Switzerland became known as The Miracle of Bern, and the 8-year-old Beckenbauer was on the streets to welcome the team, and his particular idol, captain Fritz Walter, when they brought home the trophy.

That, surely, is how sports grips us.

The innocence of childhood filled with the skills, the running and the spirit of our heroes.

Alas, a German government release Monday of some — but by no means all — of a 500-page study titled “Doping in Germany from 1950 to Today” lays bare the extent of drug use. And it breaks down the walls that some of us have built around our memories of how things were in “the good old days.”

Researchers at Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Münster have detailed, among many other things, the doping of soccer players. It includes players on the 1966 West Germany side that lost one of the most venerated of all finals, in extra time against England in London in 1966.

It states that a FIFA official, Mihailo Andrejevic, wrote to the German Athletic Association regarding slight traces of the banned stimulant ephedrine in three of Germany’s players in that match.

FIFA has denied any knowledge of that letter. But its contents are in any case the tip of a monstrously large iceberg of alleged misuse throughout sports over the decades in Germany. The knowledge that East Germany systematically abused athletes by giving them dope from childhood to the top stages of world and Olympic sports appears to have been matched by West Germany.

In soccer, this preceded, according to the report, the teams that Beckenbauer graced as the most elegant of “liberos,” the free-moving defender who could attack when he set his mind to it.

His cherished memory of 1954 is now questioned by the study’s report that players in Berne were given Pervitin, an amphetamine. It was commonly known as “speed” in sporting circles, and as “Panzer chocolate” because it had been developed to help make Nazi pilots and soldiers fly or fight for longer and better.

One aspect in the report that makes for chilling reading is that all of the players who took the dose were injected with a shared syringe. And one, the winger Richard Herrmann, died eight years later, of cirrhosis at the age of 39.

So the grim catalog goes on. It impinges on each of the three World Cups — 1966, 1970 and 1974 — for which “der Kaiser” Beckenbauer played so artistically and so competitively.

It relates to ephedrine being used by members of the 1966 World Cup team. Ephedrine is one of those drugs that can be used as a decongestant, a common cold cure, but also as a stimulant.

The study goes into the whole pharmacy of drugs used to corrupt sporting performance — including anabolic steroids and testosterone. It states that the Bonn government funded the institutional push to match what was happening across the wall, and, tellingly, to match America.

The authors quote a sports federation official saying in the early 1990s: “Coaches always told me that if you don’t take anything, then you will not become something. Anyone who became something was taking it.” It, apparently, was testosterone.

Germany’s government paid a lot for the study, but its full publication remains hampered by privacy and legal issues.

And some sections of the research, relating to athletes from the late 1990s onward, remain unpublished.

Indeed, it took a leak of the findings, in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper over the weekend, to flush out what has been disclosed thus far.

But this Pandora’s box, once opened, will not remain secret.

The rights of the athletes and players who were clean demands full disclosure.

Soccer looks less clean today than I believed it to be. The odd player risking a stimulant was bound to be in the system. But soccer’s defense was, and is, that it requires quick reactions as well as stamina, and that no single drug gives you both.

Now, though, Beckenbauer’s adulation of the Miracle of Bern is damaged. It would be nice, but hard, to share the opinion of Thomas Bach, the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation and a candidate for the International Olympic Committee leadership next month: “This,” he said, “is a good day for the fight against doping.” But a bad day for sporting memories held dear.

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I would suspect that the vast majority of players playing at a high level of international or club football are. Hell, maybe it wasn't Fergie-time that led to all those late Man Utd winners, but doping aimed at improving late-game stamina and concentration...

If you were a footballer and were offered a shot or pill by your doctor that will make you a 1% better footballer and would double your wages, I think most would take it, especially if assured by the doctor that there was little chance of detection.

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We only ever seem to get the big drug scandals years after the event.

I wonder how many of today's players are going to be found to have been doping years down the line.

 

wouldnt be surprised especially with fitness levels of some players. most teams are playing pressing games and playing same players every week and still have energy.

 

I guarantee a MON team wont be named in it ;)

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I would suspect that the vast majority of players playing at a high level of international or club football are. Hell, maybe it wasn't Fergie-time that led to all those late Man Utd winners, but doping aimed at improving late-game stamina and concentration...

If you were a footballer and were offered a shot or pill by your doctor that will make you a 1% better footballer and would double your wages, I think most would take it, especially if assured by the doctor that there was little chance of detection.

Not to mention reminding the player that a lot depends on the team getting results, and that they wouldn't want to let the team down...

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