Painkiller popping: TV report shines light on a German football pandemic

June 12 – German football has been rocked by a damning tv expose which claims players, both professional and amateur, suffer from a culture of over-reliance on painkillers as they race to recover from injury.

A number of doping experts contributed to the documentary by ARD, which makes for a chilling indictment of what goes on behind the scenes.

Union Berlin defender Nevan Subotic  told the programme: “What I’ve seen in the past 14 years is that ibuprofen is eaten as if they were Smarties.”

“They (clubs) are under pressure to get players fit again as soon as possible. It has become a systematic practice.”

Hans Geyer, who reportedly works for a doping lab in Cologne added: “In my opinion it also goes against the ethics of the sport if you cannot do without painkillers.”

And Toni Graf-Baumann, a member of the German Football Association’s anti-doping committee, was quoted as saying: “Money, sponsors, excessive salaries and the media play much greater role than sports for medical reasons.”

German FA boss Fritz Keller was “shocked” by the findings. “This is actually counterproductive,” he said. “Amateur sport is supposed to keep you healthy and not to break you. Painkillers as prevention – that’s just stupid.”

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