Hajo Seppelt, the German investigative sports journalist who was temporarily denied a visa to Russia earlier this month, has accused the Russian national soccer team of using performance-enhancing drugs.
At least 34 Russian soccer players, including the entire 2014 World Cup squad, were reportedly included on a list of athletes who may have benefited from Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme. FIFA previously said it was unable to find proof of doping violations committed by Russian soccer players after a global anti-doping watchdog’s 2016 report implicated more than 1,000 Russian athletes across 30 sports.
“We received information that from 2014 [...] there have been [tainted] samples from players who are currently in the roster of the Russian team for the World Cup,” Seppelt said in an interview with Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster Monday.
He said FIFA did not answer whether it had “done a retest for all forbidden substances.”
Asked why a football player would need doping, Seppelt said that they needed “a combination of power and endurance.”
Seppelt, who has reported on doping scandals in Germany, China and Kenya in addition to Russia, was refused accreditation to the World Cup earlier this month before the German foreign minister appealed to Moscow on his behalf.
After he was cleared to attend the World Cup in Russia this summer, Russian investigators said they planned to interrogate Seppelt as part of their abuse of power case against Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, who moved to the United States.