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June 2021

Footballers are taking performance enhancing drugs. So why are the FAs, Uefa and Fifa are covering it up.

By Tony Attwood

Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe’s largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of 840,000.

And on March 18 this year they wrote:

It is often said that taking performance enhancing drugs makes no sense for soccer players. Then why do so many do so? An internal list from the World Anti-Doping Agency reveals the substances players have been caught using. And shows that football officials seek to play down the issue.

It is a serious piece which starts with all the luminaries of German football telling us that drugs in football doesn’t happen because drugs in football won’t help.  Everyone from Franz Beckenbauer to Jürgen Klopp is quoted saying this.

Mehmet Scholl, former Bayern Munich player and TV commentator even told us why.  “Football is too complex. Let’s assume that you take something to build up your muscles, your coordination would suffer. If you take something for conditioning, you’ll get slower.”

In 2015 according to Spiegel there were 149 cases of doping in football worldwide.  Then the Fancy Bears hacking group got the data from WADA and found that positive tests came from everywhere from Brazil, to England, from Thailand to Malta.  

In England the details are kept hyper secret so the hackers don’t know the players involved but they revealed details of prednisolone being taken, a medication that can increase performance levels in the short term.  Exactly the opposite of “you’ll get slower”.

As the article reminds us, in 2004 the team doctor for Juventus received a prison sentence for injecting players with EPO.  And that’s before we get to the farce of Mamadou Sakho and Uefa proclaiming itself unhappy with WADA.  

As Spiegel proclaims in its article, “the two biggest lies in the world of football are that there are no gay players and that nobody uses banned substances.”

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The hacked WADA analysis of drugs found in the bodies of footballers includes amphetamines, asthma medications, anti-estrogens, peptide hormones and anabolic steroids.  Along of course with a substance designed to disguise banned doping agents.

Players are using these drugs for two reasons, endurance and rapidly recovery: the two areas which the substances that are banned can work on.  As Spiegel says,

“Stimulants, taken just before a game, for example, increase an athlete’s aggression. Steroids make muscles bigger and stronger and help injured professionals return more quickly to the playing field. In the world of professional sports, substances that act like steroids, but which are difficult to detect, have recently become popular. Called SARMs, they are seen as the next generation of doping — and they too have found their way into football. In December 2015, four players were caught using SARMs in Guatemala.”

Fifa says that football is monitored more closely than any other sport and that one quarter of one percent of samples in 2015 came back positive.  Mind you they also give the number of cases – and claim it was 78.   Which is only half of the number WADA counted.  Ah, but then, Uefa thinks WADA is incompetent – and that probably means they can’t count either.

WADA found five players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in Uefa competitions, including one case of dexamethasone, which is banned as it increases concentration and speeds up recovery.

And Uefa did… nothing.  Because… it wasn’t the player’s fault!!!!!!!!!!!    It came from an injection earlier in the season.

And how did they know?

The player told them.

In Mexico, an interesting case, as I will try to show in a further article, 33 players were found in 2015 to have taken clenbuterol, which builds up muscle mass and is primarily used by bodybuilders.  There was an earlier case in 2011 when five tested positive, and none was disciplined.  

The Mexican Football Federation said it came from meat contaminated with the substance. And they knew this because….  Oh.  It was an assumption.

In 2015, nine players in England tested positive for doping. Two had taken the asthma medication salbutamol, four cocaine, one amphetamines, another ecstasy.  One was not revealed.  Three players received doping warnings none were penalized.   As for the other six cases revealed by WADA well… in a silence worthy of PGMO the FA said…


Spiegel says, “In English football, however, cocaine and hashish are considered “social drugs.” If professionals don’t use the drug on match days, they don’t necessarily have anything to fear. One of the players discovered to have used cocaine in 2015, for example, wasn’t punished because his use of the drug following a death in the family was seen as a mitigating factor.”

Even the fact that a criminal offence was committed, seems to have passed everyone by.

There’s more that should worry us all.  One Bundesliga player told Spiegel that “he once knew 48 hours in advance that a doping investigator would be coming by to test him.”  

WADA suggests that all football associations test blood in 10 percent of its tests, and the German Football Association does this.  Fifa only managed it for 3.8%  percent of its 2015 competition tests. As Spiegel says, “All of the positive tests listed in the WADA spreadsheet were based on urine samples, which leads one to suspect that it doesn’t tell the whole story about doping in football.

“The German case in the WADA list also ended without consequences. When contacted for comment, the DFB said the case against the player from RW Oberhausen had been closed following an oral hearing. The legal examination, they said, had revealed that “no banned treatment method had taken place.”

But this is football.  And not surprisingly there is more.  A lot more.  But I’ll save that for later.

See also

Journalists still working hard to ensure that football ignores the drugs cheat threat

The weird story of Uefa attempting to by-pass world doping rules is finally resolved.

Good and bad news for Arsenal from the Fifa Confederations Cup as entire Russian team found guilty of drug offences


11 comments to Footballers are taking performance enhancing drugs. So why are the FAs, Uefa and Fifa are covering it up.

  • Chris


    Well, it sure looks like cigarettes are far worse then anything you’ve mentionned in the article and WADA is looking for.
    Because they were caught smoking, Jack and Woz were punished, the press all too happy to paint them in a very bad light, and moralized like kids.
    Maybe they should have explained an auntie or a friend had passed away and all this would have been pardoned.
    And saying the S word is even worst. Then again, considering where it happened, maybe Jack could have argued it was recreational use of the S… word like it is uttered millions of times by fans during games anyway….

    The difference in importance compared to drugs is just totally insane. Then again, considering the billions in play, guess it makes sense. The show must go on and when you are in a bubble, the only strategy is ‘up, up, up higher’.

    At some point you wonder if it would not be a good thing for the bubble to burst, and force a total rethinking.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    The law of Nemesis will one day catch up with footballers and the football governing officials at Fifa, Uefa, the FAs among other football governing bodies worldwide who have been covering up doping activities by footballers around the world and punish them accordingly. But of a note worth noting, have the CAF officials ever had any doping activity indictments registered against them on record by WADA? I don’t think so since I’ve never read any such implicating story against CAF in the media.

  • Flares

    Tyson Fury was brought to book for failing a drugs test (nandrolone, an anabolic steroid) and subsequently missing another test. License suspended pending reviews and possible four year ban. In the interim, he got heavily into using cocaine. It’s unlikely he’ll be allowed to box again, despite being one of the most high profile sporting figures we have. So why aren’t players dragged through the papers and given lengthy bans for the same thing? The hypocrisy in English football is sometimes so great I can’t even get my head around it. The rabbit hole seems so deep and full of so much excrement. Will we ever know the truth.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pretty worrying stuff. Have long wondered how certain teams seem to get very few injuries, and very quick recovery times, well, quicker than outr players anyway. Can remember a recent unlikely title winner having incredibly few injuries, not saying they are up to anything, though I can think of another blog that is highly suspicious of them.
    The authorities will have all kinds of reasons to turn a blind eye, it may suit their brand for certain teams to do well, similar things sadly happen in all sports, and are covered up, look at the way the Spanish authorities, and possibly some in government would not allow what would no doubt some very interesting names in the dodgy doctor blood doping enquiry.
    I believe Wengers much berated values mean he knows all kinds of dodgy things go on, but he will not knowingly be part of any of it, and he pays the price

  • finsbury

    AFC have long been ahead of the curve here. Looking after their athletes and their families. Though in the interests of balance if you don’t like creatine there is room for some critique too.

    The aaa no doubt blame Veengarrrghhhhhh for the lack of pumped up blood spinning clowns pimping themselves on Mike Riley & Scudamore’s behalf, whilst declaring that they are, wait for it, “against modern football”.


  • para

    It amazes me how one can think that some “authority” is going to catch up with the “wrong doers” in football(and in other areas of life for that matter) when the said authorities have to thank their whole existence on robbing, stealing, cheating, murder, rape, the list goes on.

    People wake up, the societies we live in are based on(it is the foundation of) the above list of attrocities, it seems silly to expect that there is anything called justice, except in the dictionary.

    Any “justice” we get to see is usually not that at all, but an attempt to “convince” people that justice does exist, expecially when someone gets caught.

    We then get the same mantras like, “terrible”, “disgusting”, “inhuman”, “must be punised” bla bla bla.

    Am i the only one that sees this same pattern repeating itself over and over again?

    In reality, the modern world has never come out of the “wild wild west”, and the gangsters are at the top of the roost. They have shed the pistol on the waist and now wear the “suit and tie”.

    This is the current world we live in, stop being fooled by the projections of a “good and just society” when all around these same societies are robbing, looting, scheming, murdering and hindering(with military force) others to maintain their standard of living and keep themselves at the top of the pile.

    I really do not expect anything else from society at this moment as they seem to not realise that there are other ways.

    It is said that a tree can only bear the fruit of it’s genetic information(except for tampering), it is silly to the extreme to expect anything different.

    I cannot see anyone tampering with the genetics of the “tree” to change it except those who benefit from the system being exactly as it is.

    This is the illusion that Man is progressing, but in reality Man is regressing and degenerating, it is the tecnology alone that is progressing.

    Anything that generates the amount of money that football does, will be more likely to be highly saturated with corruption, think about it carefully.

    Anyway, these are the things i see going on since i broke my rose tinted glasses of youth.

    Those of us who have broken through that barrier can only try to “keep our slate” as clean as we can, but usually end up suffering at the hands of those who have no regard or understanding of what “fair”, “equal” “help”, “love” and such words really mean, they just use them as another word whin the situation seem to call for them to be used.

    Like Arsenal who (among some others) tried to do things the right way, and is demonised, critisised and “burnt at the stake” like those in the past who spoke out.

  • Chelski much, kidnap n torture 4 125 days cover ups r great evidence vanishes and nobody believes but case won and AW is a deviant and henry wtf av u done to united up front. LAC, gr8 buy no one leaves except theo, plz cash in on nacho b4 he gets santi’d and danny. d mid leftie pacy cb and RW WE Good

  • Menace

    Dwain Kaye – super English from you. Glad that you know what you said. When you get your ‘O’ level in hieroglyphics I’m sure you will return to manage a football.

  • LOL For the layman, given I am capable of writing law, had won a case that day to liberate myself from the torturous conditions and kidnapping, quite stylishly using unused material available to the regulating Lawyer that exonerated me before any such persecution should have begun. Not withstanding the fact that I had to use the shoddy platform afforded me by my little brothers XBOX (Eurgh and PS$ is bad enough), I will clarify for you.

    125days so as to audit more bodies, by chance, you wouldn’t believe, but I can document these events and abuses of process. But in context but on a parallel tangent, yes cover ups do happen, evidence can go missing and morons do cast doubt on things we all intrinsically feel to be true once we receive our latest energy bill at least.

    Vilifying our manager with indiscreet jibes about his sexual morality, relying on his candour rather than legal foundation as way of avoidance of Libel (I am not the same as he, trust me, (I will take your shoes and your dog), adds credence to erroneous claims that cast doubt on facts surrounding match fixing.

    Henry coaches Lukaku, who scored on his debut and twice on his league debut, he’s becoming an animal and leads United’s line very well, even if Bilic cannot be entirely at fault for a shambolic performance that romances the United season opener, complacency is a trait of Jose and Lukaku thankfully. Lacazette, is a subtle acquisition, £20m £25m less than the other two new arrivals of almost identical age at Chelsea and United respectively.

    He’s (Lacazette) faster than both, and I do maintain that pace and acceleration can trump even technique and physical prowess especially in this game (serve 150mph into the box and even if it’s off a return is not coming, you will never drop service games 75% work done) However Lacazette was rested in the Charity Shield and the combination of instinct, movement, technique and agility for his goal just 94 seconds into his season opener, bodes very, very well. We need a poacher who can pass and find space (hence the Vardy bid) Lacazette could learn a thing or too from him still, but that comes with age and experience especially of English football. Time is on his side and I think that he combines both Morata and Lukakus abilities exceptionally and h9is fleet footed nature will maintain his relatively infrequent need for trips to Lewin and Co. I think he might just prove to be the best striker available, Dybala is another very good look,. but he’s not buyable and in recognition of SkyScout trolls I avoided mentioning anyone but the obvious.

    Summer window 16 Dwain Kaye – Morata will move

    Start of season and again after FA Cup Semi win Dwain Kaye – That’s the FA Cup bagged then, should have been 5-1 5-2. Moses haha, and Charity Shield maybe first a little harsh, but he should have gone either way for other indiscretions.

    Lose pace, you will get scythed down, Monreal should head to spain, if Gabriel goes, then I hope we are in for one of 2 or 3 World Class CB’s, Holding has my vote for League Cup and some Fa Cup games if we pull minnows, I want to see him blossom this season, better than stones; personally.

    Poor Danny will play as often as possible at one of the mid-table clubs and recouping £12m from them would be a win, win, win rather than them having to compete in a ridiculously artificially inflated market.

    The is a wide Forward, he needs the angle, but with us, not good, again if Klopp has foresight, he will realise as I said Coutinho is off and Fiminio would be better cashed in now or in Jan, plan ahead always.

    A Left Footed CB would give us 2 starters, 3 if Mert plays in a three. His reading is immaculate and with cover left and right he can actually play as a makeshift DM, although his distribution can be a bit laboured even if it is accurate 995 of the time.

    NB: What a performance in the FA Final, Man of the match all day, What a display, best game of his life, he’d prob agree. #desire

    Callum and Holding are capable of playing with Cohen to make a back 4 for League Cup. but again you discover that if we either play a three or need to rotate for FA Cup and Europe we are short if we get a serious injury, one should learn from past failures.

    FYI I want us back to a back four, but I think we absolutely need a Matic. W Carvalho would be perfect.

    Jack is deputising Mesut for me and Ramsey, Elneny is squad along with Couquelin. The move of Alex OC was very astute, at wing back he develops his def cover and a deeper position gives him the opportunity to train up and down the line. Bellerin had a chill summer and is back at around 90%

    Iwobi looks refreshed and has developed from last season where he was integral and more than admiral in his displays, I have very high hopes for him and Chuba who I think can birth in the league cup, Juvenile back 4, him leading the line Elneny roaming and Jack coming back in at no:10. Alex OC can revert to either wing with Alex Iwobi and they can handle the minor European clashed with 3rd and 4th seeds as well, they need to learn to swap wings instinctively #askalexis.

    My absolute focus is the league title and another FA cup, w) blooding youth in the league Cup, Willock looks ready? Along with Jeff and Ainsley too. Fast track development, Ala Thierry Henry at Belgium, only a year now. 😛 Bring in Patrick. Europe is a bonus, if we get the run, we get it, if we get stick around last 16, drop it like Poch, but don’t flop the league like Poch.

    For more on the need for a DM, RW, CB and potentially a LB/RB see, Untolds new posts.
    “yeah I’m a menace, damn right I said it”

  • Oh and on why they are botheringbecause it lucrative UEFA have 1.3bn cash reserve, Fifa, pfft, but they use million dollar bonds as confetti.

    If FTSE companies float their shares in dollars and you cause a mini crash and inflate the value of the dollar, then trade,what happens!

    I make it look easy!

  • Chelsea much – Doping, like Team Sky, Bradley, what’s in your lunchbox, I’ll swap it for this orange. Sky, where did the 3pm Saturday kick off go, oh, with the phone hacking for Samantha’s lesser half.

    I dare you to flop, she kinda alright mate! 😀