Brazil’s earth-shattering 1-7 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinal match on Tuesday sent shockwaves through the world of professional sports, setting a record for most goals scored in a semifinal match in World Cup history while also giving Brazil their worst loss in more than ninety years. But one member of Germany’s medical staff is claiming that it wasn’t really Brazil’s fault.
Dr. Viktor Hoefler, a sports physician from Berlin who joined the German national team’s medical staff in 2006, told Brazil’s newspaper Zero Hora on Tuesday evening that members of Brazil’s own medical team, working closely with German physicians, slipped trace amounts of a tranquilizer drug called Diazepam into water and Gatorade bottles used by Brazil’s starting eleven.
“They had been gambling on the World Cup, and after Neymar picked up his injury, Brazil’s fitness people decided it was Germany they wanted to see win,” alleges Hoefler, who says he was fired from the team moments before the interview for tattling on the doctors to FIFA. Neymar’s World Cup run ended last week after he suffered a fractured vertebrae during a quarterfinal match against Columbia on July 4th.
Hoefler claims he took no part in the gambling, and protested the drugging. “I told them, `no, this is wrong. Let these teams just play it out fairly,’ but no one would listen to me,” Hoefler says. “Most people, the journalists, felt Germany were going to win regardless, but this would make it certain. And it was wrong, but no one would listen to me.”
Hoefler says he learned about the plan on Sunday, when two Brazilian doctors approached him to ask about Diazepam, a drug which Hoefler’s wife uses as a veterinarian specializing in horses. He says he attempted to report the plan to German Head Coach Joachim Löw, but Löw told him to “not worry about it” and to “not stick [his] nose in.” Hoefler tried telling FIFA officials as well, but he claims they turned a blind eye.
“FIFA doesn’t care who wins and who loses these matches, or how that happens,” Hoefler says. “To them, all they care about is how much money can be made from advertising.” Later, he alleged that FIFA “threatened to force me out of the German National Team if I brought it up again, and said I could be banned from the World Cup for life, even as a spectator.”
When the German National Team caught wind of Hoefler’s communications with FIFA, he was fired. “It was maybe three hours after the match, and [Löw] called me and said `you’re fired. You’re going home.’ I didn’t know what else to do, so I found the first newspaper I could find and called in.”
FIFA told Zero Hora’s reporters that Hoefler never spoke with anyone about drugged players, and that tests of water bottles could not be conducted because “the drug would have been completely consumed regardless.” They also claim Gatorade bottles are shipped out sealed, though Zero Hora reports that numerous players have confirmed that Gatorade bottles are unsealed when they reach the pitch.