London: Former West Germany midfielder Bernd Schuster has defended doping in football when it is used to speed up the recovery process after an injury.
The Malaga coach also claimed that during his playing career, all players “took something”, although did not dope in the “classical sense.”
His comments come just weeks after the German Olympic Committee appointed an independent commission to examine evidence that a secret doping programme operated in West Germany for decades.
Results published by the German Federal Institute for Sport Science claimed three members of the country’s 1966 World Cup final team who played against England at Wembley, were found to have traces of ephedrine, a banned stimulant.
“As long as it’s purely for regeneration, I don’t have a problem with it,” Schuster said in an interview with a sports magazine on Monday.
“If a player is fit again after an injury in two or three weeks, it makes good sense then. But not when it is intended to bring a player to 120, 150 or 180 per cent fit and raring.
“So as long as it is not intended to elevate his performance but intended to bring him back to shape as quickly as possible, it should be fine.
“There is a culture now that some players have more pills and packs of tablets in their bags than deodorant and after-shave lotion.
“They are very delicate. They need to be prepared for anything. And it is often just a state of mind. You could give them glucose and tell them it is good for them and they would take it.
“But these are extreme examples. Most guys are interested only in proper medicine and not in all these different therapies.”
The 53-year-old German, who played for Barcelona and Real Madrid in the 1980s, said doping was not an issue when he was a player “because the word, as we know it today, didn’t exist. “We all took something. No stimulants in the classical sense.”
He added: “But the doctors and physiotherapists always gave you some kinds of things, sometimes even on a match day when you didn’t feel well somehow or were in a bit of pain.
“You didn’t ask what you were getting. But it wasn’t about getting electricity in your backside to run around the pitch at 200 per cent.”
According to Schuster, players’ recovery periods had shortened considerably. “Before, if I had a swollen ankle it was kneaded out with a rod.
“Tears would practically shoot out of every pore in my body. Today, the guys can play again one week after a hamstring injury. It’s crazy what has changed for the better as a whole,” he said.