World Cup 1966
Letter Reveals Doping Breach on German Team
Doping didn't prevent the controversial 'Wembley goal' by England against Germany.
In 1966, still in the Stone Age of anti-doping measures, soccer's world governing body FIFA made World Cup players take doping tests for the first time. There were no reports of positive tests at the tournament in England that year. But new information indicates that three members of the West German national team may have actually breached the doping rules.
Historians at Berlin's Humboldt University have discovered a letter dated November 29, 1966, in which the chairman of FIFA's medical committee of FIFA, Yugoslav Mihailo Andrejevic, informed fellow doctor Max Danz, president of the West German Athletics Federation, about the doping tests at the World Cup.
In the letter, Andrejevic noted that the tests revealed very slight traces of an ephedrine-based medicine against cold symptoms in three players from the West German football team. Ephedrine is used as a decongestant but also as a stimulant.
All teams at the time had been given a list of banned medicines, and ephedrine was on that list. No maximum permissible levels had been provided, which meant that strictly speaking, the German players were doped.
It is possible that the West German team doctor and the players neglected to tell Andrejevic's committee that they were using a drug containing ephedrine. This omission didn't result in any sanctions.
The team led by national coach Helmut Schön reached the final where they lost to England 2-4 at Wembley Stadium. The match has entered the annals of soccer history due to the controversial 3-2 goal by England striker Geoff Hurst. It remains known as the "Wembley Tor," or the Wembley goal, in Germany.