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The Freiburg Sports Medicine Doping Scandal

Several investigative commissions were devoted to the doping allegations against sports physicians from the Freiburg University Medical Center from 2007 onwards. It was a central concern of the University of Freiburg to come to terms with the past of Freiburg sports medicine and violations of academic integrity.

The first allegations against physicians from the Department of Rehabilitative and Preventive Sports Medicine at the Freiburg University Medical Center began circulating in the press at the end of April 2007 in connection with the cycling doping scandal around Team Telekom / Team T-Mobile.1 In order to investigate the allegations, the Freiburg University Medical Center, in agreement with the University of Freiburg, appointed the external ‘Expert Commission for the Investigation of Doping Allegations against Physicians of the University Medical Center Department of Sports Medicine’, also known as the ‘doping commission’. Even before the commission was constituted at the end of May 2007, three physicians confessed to their involvement – two admitted to administering epoetin (erythropoietin, EPO) to cyclists in the 1990s, one to administering testosterone to U23 road cyclists between 1980 and 1990. This resulted in suspensions and extraordinary dismissals without notice. The doping commission met 25 times, questioned 77 people, cooperated with both the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Freiburg Public Prosecutor’s Office, and followed up on leads from journalists in the course of their investigation. The experts published their findings in their Final Report in 2009.

In addition, the University of Freiburg set up the ‘Freiburg Sports Medicine Evaluation Commission’ in 2007. Its aim was to review the past of Freiburg sports medicine. However, the commission was dissolved in March 2016, following the resignation of all active commission members still remaining at the time. The promised final report has not been submitted to date. In the interest of transparency, the University of Freiburg published on its website six individual reports made available by former members of the commission following a legal review. The content of a seventh report can be read on the author’s private website.

In connection with the doping allegations and the academic misconduct in sports medicine, the University leadership clearly acknowledged and continues to acknowledge the misconduct of the sports physicians associated with Joseph Klümper and Armin Keul. For several years, the University of Freiburg has published all findings of the investigation and further details on its website, updating them regularly.

  1. https://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de/fileadmin/mediapool/06_presse/pdfs-publikationen/Abschlussbericht.pdf (see page 5)