Francois Marque banned for six matches

© Jonathan Sachse

The German Football Federation’s tribunal has ruled the positive test of Francois Marque as a doping offense. However, the defender of third division side Saarbrücken FC has been only banned for six matches as he didn’t use a classic performance enhancing product. The DFB published the verdict on its website (Press Release in German).

[by Jonathan Sachse / translation: Thomas Bachmann]

To bring you up to speed, we put together a chronology of the Marque case from the positive test to the verdict.

Nov 30, 2013

Marque is asked to deliver a urin sample after the match against RB Leipzig. A week later, the lab informs the DFB about the positive test. The cortisone product is free to be used in training, but can only be applied in competition with a medical exemption. Marque was not able to present such an exemption.

Jan 20, 2014

Shortly before Marque’s hearing, the Saarländische Rundfunk (SR) breaks the story of the case. The player asks for the B-sample to be analysed. Weiterlesen

European doping test systems: Record positives in Portugal

Fußballnation Portugal / Twitter-Nutzer agu2000_de; CC BY 2.0)

More than 100 positive doping tests have been discovered in Portuguese football over the last ten years. That’s quite remarkable and by far the record number in European football. What’s the reason for so many positive tests? The answer is to be found in the Portuguese control system.

[by Jonathan Sachse / translation: Thomas Bachmann]

In December, we published the first results of our research about doping controls in European football. Now we dig a little deeper and are going to analyse the various systems. We kick it off with Portugal.

Who gets tested and where?

Portugal’s anti-doping agency ADoP carries out all tests. A minimum of two matches of the first division (Liga ZON Sagres) and one match of the second division (Liga2 Cabovisao) will be drawn every match day. There are only three out-of-competition tests per team in the first division and two per team in the second division over the whole season. Weiterlesen

Dopingcase in German Football

Francois Marque / CC 3.0 via Ligue de Football Professionel

There is a new doping case in Germany’s professional football. Doping control officers found a cortisone substance in Francois Marque’s blood. His club 1. FC Saarbrücken (third division) confirmed the positive test of the French player, says German public TV ARD.

The forbidden substance was found after a game against RB Leipzig on November 30st. 31st. A- and B-sample were positive. German football federation DFB wants to deal with the case in a hearing next Monday.

According to ARD the positive sample was caused by a cortisone-containing ointment. Athletes need therapeutic use exemptions from a national doping agency to use these sort of creams. His club 1. FC Saarbrücken seems to think that the positive test is a form error. Maybe they reference to a missing use exemption. Weiterlesen

Holey doping tests all over Europe

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The doping tests in Europe’s top football leagues are full of holes. Still, there have been more than 300 doping cases in the last couple of years. An investigation for Spiegel Online done by looked into the different anti doping systems in European football.

The German football federation DFB says that they have the second best doping control system in the whole world. We looked into that statement. We asked football federations and anti doping agencies in 20 countries, read their annual reports and also WADA reports. After that we produced a multimedia feature for the biggester German news website Spiegel Online. The piece was published today. Weiterlesen

Trouble on Corsica

Fabrizio Ravanelli has played for Juventus Turin from 1992 to 1996. At that time Juve was involved in one of the biggest doping scandals football ever had. Ravanelli became a coach. Last Sunday the French club AJ Ajaccio (Ligue 1) fired him. According to LeMonde one of his former players blamed Ravanelli to force players to take dubious nutrition supplements.

Ravanelli came to Ajaccio in June. Before that he led the training centre at and the reserve team of Juventus Turin. Ravanelli brought his longtime companion to Corsica, athletics trainer Giampiero Vetrone. Ravanelli and Vetrone got to know each other back in 1994 at Juventus Turin. Weiterlesen

Sepp Blatter on drug-fight: “We lag behind”

Football page of DIE ZEIT (issue 39/2013)

Sepp Blatter surprised with some rather critic statements on FIFA’s fight against doping. The president of football’s world governing body not only confirmed that the sport has a doping problem, but Blatter also says FIFA lags far behind in the fight against doping especially in detecting new drugs. In the case of Germany, Blatter claims the country needs to implement an anti-doping law in order to attack the issue of doping in football.

[by Jonathan Sachse and Daniel Drepper / translation: Thomas Bachmann]

So far, Sepp Blatter never really appeared too keen to address the doping issue in football. However, what he said in a public talk in Zurich organised by German weekly DIE ZEIT might have surprised many of Blatter’s critics. Parts of the interview were published in the current issue of DIE ZEIT. Weiterlesen

Nine times blood-doping in Bundesliga?

Title of the study researched by German national team physician Tim Meyer


A five year old study seems to contradict the whole Anti-Doping-Talk of German football officials: high blood values from the Bundesliga season 2008/2009 might indicate blood doping. The German football federation DFB says, the values can be explained by normal deviations. But as long as doping controls don’t get better in the Bundesliga, doping is on the table.

[by Daniel Drepper and Jonathan Sachse]

The suspicious blood values were found in a study of Germanys team physician Tim Meyer. The study and a doctoral thesis on the same research was obtained by this week. DFB never tried to follow up on this high blood parameters, didn’t mention them in public and instead continued to say that blood doping in football makes no sense. This may now be disproved. For his study Meyer and his Co-Author Steffen Meister collected blood parameters from 18 different clubs in the first three divisions. Nine times they found hemoglobin values over 17 g/dl, eight times they found haematocrit values over 50%. Weiterlesen

Jens Lehmann: Doping for rehab alright

Jens Lehmanns column in SportBild (35/2013)

Germany is discussing drugs in football. A scientific study about doping in West-Germany revealed that the German national football teams from 1954, 1966 and 1974 are suspicious of taking doping substances. In the last couple of weeks a lot of former German soccer players had to answer questions about doping. Bernd Schuster, Dieter Schatzschneider, Paul Breitner, even Franz “the Kaiser” Beckenbauer himself. Today Jens Lehmann uses his one-page-column for German sports weekly SportBild to write about the issue. He gives some interesting insights.

Lehmann writes about his time at Arsenal London: He and his teammates took infusions “without asking any questions” and with “blind faith in the physicians”. He believes that the physicians didn’t give any illegal substances, but he is not a hundred percent sure about that. Weiterlesen

Signed: Bundesliga to carry out blood tests

Dopingkontrolleur und Fan – bei der WM 2006 // CC BY-SA by fotofreund via

Germany’s national anti-doping agency NADA paid a surprise visit to the country’s football team a day before their match against Paraguay. However, just one player was tested and due to privacy regulations it isn’t even clear if NADA took a blood sample of this player. The reason NADA took only one sample is the agency’s limited budget. Every single test gets deducted from the annual budget that is made available by Germany’s football association DFB.

[translated by Thomas Bachmann]

“NADA has signed a contract with the DFB,” a NADA spokeswomen told However, she was not authorized to give any further details expect from: “NADA decides which kind of tests will be carried out in out of competition tests. It will not pass on important urine samples and combine the procedure with taking blood samples wherever it makes sense. We will take blood samples in about 15 per cent of all out of competition tests. There will be a total of 500 out of competition tests.” Weiterlesen