LEVERKUSEN, Germany, Reuters
Germany’s soccer coach-designate Christoph Daum said on Monday he was the target of a smear campaign and he would undergo a drug test to prove his innocence of accusations that he took illegal substances.
“The fact the utmost damage has been done to my reputation as a person and a trainer has forced me to change my stance. I will now deliver proof of my innocence,” Daum said at a news conference.
Bayern Munich commercial manager Uli Hoeness sparked a highly public clash with Daum when he said the Bayer Leverkusen manager was unfit to be national coach because of lurid allegations of improper behaviour in his private life. Daum has said he would sue Hoeness for libel. Until now Daum has refused to take a drugs test and cited the principle that he is innocent until proven guilty even though there were calls from figures such as Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer for him to take a test.
“I gave a sample of my hair to a doctor today. The results will be available in four weeks…I have done this only because I have an absolutely clear conscience on this,” said Daum, due to take over as Germany coach next June when his contract with Leverkusen expires.
A visibly angry Daum held the news conference to present his side of the story in a row which has caused uproar in the German soccer establishment. “Newspaper publishing houses and TV studios should also think about the mechanisms which can lead to a person being painted into a corner like this,” Daum said.
He ended the briefing after delivering his brief statement and left without taking questions.
Daum also faces probes into his financial affairs after prosecutors in Munich and Cologne launched preliminary investigations into allegations of fraud and embezzlement.
Daum made his statement after Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Saturday led to calls for the current team of caretaker-coach Rudi Voeller and his assistant Michael Skibbe to be made permanent.
“There has to be an end to this dreadful, damaging discussion, because ultimately football will suffer. We need clarity now,” Beckenbauer wrote in Bild newspaper.
He said it was demeaning for Daum to have to undergo blood tests and hair analysis to squash rumours.
“Daum has to ask himself if he really wants to take the highest job in German football under these difficult personal circumstances. But Rudi’s victory has not made this decision easier,” Beckenbauer wrote.