Not enough money for blood tests in football?

// ddp

There are still no blood tests in German football. And football officials are still reluctant to introduce them. The German Süddeutsche Zeitung reports today (not online yet) that there has been a meeting between some federations of team sports and the National Doping Agency NADA. Allegedly there is not enough money for blood tests in football.

[The links direct to older German posts, Sorry]

The national federations of football, basketball, handball and ice hockey met with NADA in Bonn. The issue: Finally introducing blood tests to team sports in Germany. We reported on the plan to meet in advance. Until now, we reported different times, there are no blood tests in German football, the national federation DFB always refused to become a forerunner. After the meeting in December the four national federations think it’s “imaginable to introduce blood tests in team sports”, there may be blood tests for internationals in out-of-competition tests.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung there is still a problem left: The money. Until now football is paying 640.000 Euro a year for its in- and out-of-competition tests. The federations don’t want to pay extra money for the blood tests. That’s a problem, because German NADA is chronically underfinanced. Now there is a suggestion to reduce the urine tests to afford new blood tests. An average football player is getting tested in Germany just every third year. There is already a lack of testing.

Blood tests cost at most one per mill of the yearly turnover
It’s astonishing that German football doesn’t have a few hundred thousand Euros to fund blood tests. The necessary amount of money wouldn’t exceed one per mill of the yearly turnover of the German professional football. In England and Italy blood tests are already common.

[Update: January 24, 2013; 10:18 AM: The German Bundesliga had a turnover of more than two billion Euro in 2011/2012, the head-organisation of the Bundesliga (DFL) reported on Wednesday. That's a new record. Thereby the costs for blood tests would be only around one tenth per mill of the yearly turnover.]

The German Bundesliga recently did get a new tv-contract worth 200 Million Euro revenues on top. Wolfgang Holzhäuser, manager of Bayer Leverkusen, said some months ago this money should be in part given to the fight against doping. When the national public radio Deutschlandfunkt asked Holzhäuser about doping in football he suddenly doubted if there is enough money to fund blood tests for the German Bundesliga.

Without blood tests a lot of illegal substances and methods can’t be detected, which could be useful in an high intensity endurance sport like football. There is a lot of evidence that there is or has been blood doping in football, for instance the scandal of Juventus Turin and the connections of Eufemiano Fuentes (linked report in English).

Before Matthias Sammer became sports director for FC Bayern Munich he was sports director for the German national federation DFB. Back then he said about doping and blood tests in football: “If this will satisfy the nation we will do blood tests next weekend everywhere. But you will get the same result: Because it’s a non-issue in football.”

This post is also available in: German

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