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Sports

German newspaper sheds light on West Germany's doping practices

A new report has shown that the former West German government backed organized doping, a German newspaper has revealed. The practices, previously associated more with the East, date back some 40 years.

The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) newspaper revealed new information Saturday about systematic doping practices that existed in West Germany. An unpublished report, written by researchers from Berlin's Humboldt University, showed that the Federal Institute for Sports Science (BISp) experimented with anabolic steroids, testosterone, estrogen and blood doping.

Since the beginning of the 1970s athletes in West Germany were doping in a systematic and organized manner, SZ reported. The 800-page "Doping in Germany from 1950 to today" study details how doping and doping research was conducted in the country.

West Germany's system of doping was not developed as a response to the well-publicized practices of East Germany, the authors of the report say, but rather parallel to it. Several politicians apparently knew about and condoned the program.

The doping practices reportedly made their way into a number of sports, from track and field to football. Just how widespread and costly the doping program was is not yet known, according to the report, however the BISp did provide funding for research, with facilities in Freiburg, Cologne and Saarbrücken.

According to SZ it is unclear whether the study, which was commissioned by the German Olympic Sports Confederation in 2008 on behalf of the BISp, will be published. The BISp has so far refrained from publication, citing privacy concerns.

Saturday's news has already drawn reactions from German politicians, with opposition Social Democrats parliamentary head Thomas Oppermann urging Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich to publish the study.

dr/rc (AFP, dpa, SID)