Martin Hinteregger and Nada – A strange case

This week has seen a lot of headlines concerning the treatment Martin Hinteregger received during last Sunday’s match against Hoffenheim. The defender was treated with a needle and a power shot.

A lot was written in Germany’s newspapers before the club decided to come up with a proper reponse concerning the use of needles and unidentfied substances. It took the club a full two days to enlighten the public.

According to Eintracht, Hinteregger was treated with acupunctre and received magnesium in order to cure a cramp. Using acupunctre on the pitch is a new process in the Bundesliga.

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Why the club couldn’t come forward at an earlier stage is an unanswered question. Instead the club decided to send a sabre rattling letter to the Nada (Germany’s anti doping agency) and told the press that there wasn’t anything worth reporting about. Media outlets were even told that reporting the incident as news could potentially be embarrassing for the press.

War of words

Despite Eintracht’s clarification on Tuesday, Nada continued to look into the matter. The head of Nada Lars Mortsiefer told Bild on Wednesday:

“We are concerned about the entire ongoings of that incident and the signal effect it may have. There is somebody receiving a pill and he is fit again straight away. This is about doping, about the abuse of medicine.”

Eintracht coach Adi Hütter wasn’t amused about the statement. The Austrian told the press that he respected Nada’s work, but that he couldn’t let this quote pass by:

“I find it disrepectful to come up with such a quote. I want to protect our doctors. Martin, the doctors, all of us have a clear conscience.”

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Nada finds no wrong doing

In the end the German national anti-doping agency found no wrong doing on the part of both Hinteregger and the treating physicians. However, given the treatment measures used by the club and the way it looked on television, Eintracht would have probably been wise to respond earlier and more calmly about the press enquiries.

Football and other sports are always moving in the grey area of what is legal in terms of the anti-doping regulations. Most of us still remember the ammonia sniffing footballers of the Russian national team during the 2018 World Cup. If there is any lesson to be learned here, it should be the fact that transparency goes a long way in cooling off the minds.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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