A bit embarrassing seemed all the thanks for the work and all the respect for the performance of Andrea Gotzmann, which preceded practically every speech in the sports committee of the Bundestag on Wednesday. Praise and appreciation for the outgoing Chairwoman of the Board of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) were also expressed in the fact that the organization, which she will have led for almost twelve years when she left in the summer, was described as the benchmark and core of an integrity agency for German sport. Just as it was inspired by Athletes Germany and promised by politicians.

But the MEPs did not pass the reality test. Andrea Gotzmann not only issued a declaration of non-objection for all 62 federally funded sports associations with regard to their structures for preventing and combating doping. Rather, she pointed to the acute restriction of her work and thus the diminishing effect of the fight against doping. Due to price increases of up to thirty percent, especially in analytics, she told the deputies, the number of samples would have to be reduced by twenty percent.

Chronic underfunding

This is a consequence of the budget, which has remained the same for years at 10.7 million euros, in other words: chronic underfunding. Based on the 2021 figures, this means that 3200 fewer samples will take place and - since sometimes urine and blood samples are taken at the same time - 2500 checks will be cancelled. One in five reviews does not take place.

The Federal Government supports NADA with everything that is necessary, said Parliamentary State Secretary Mahmut Özdemir in the committee. However, since NADA's budget was not fully spent last year and almost 500,000 euros would be carried over to this year, an increase is not possible.

There is no trace of alarm. Not only athletes, but also those who support them with millions of dollars from the taxpayer, always refer to the comprehensive and honest work of the doping control officers from Bonn. The lack of controls damages the credibility of the entire system by more than a fifth.

After all, Nada found 15 actual doping violations last year, which was also known in the committee. The best known is that of professional footballer Mario Vušković of Hamburger SV, who was sentenced to a two-year ban for Epo doping. Nada and HSV have announced an appeal. In a further ten cases, the proceedings are still ongoing. In 49 cases where the analysis pointed to violations of the rules, these were not present, for example due to rule-compliant exemptions for medicines.

Frank Ullrich, the chairman of the sports committee, has had to give up his seat on the supervisory board of NADA because of open questions about his work as a biathlon coach in GDR sport. It's been a year since he promised to commission an expert opinion on his possible involvement. He also thanked Andrea Gotzmann and claimed to have worked with her in a spirit of trust during his fifteen years as national coach. Not a word about his past, no indication that he had commissioned the report. His silence on this matter was the most embarrassing contribution to the debate.