27 September 2019

ZDF refutes allegations that Kenyan investigators were duped

ZDF Sport has refuted allegations that its journalists were duped into reporting allegations of Kenyan doping by unscrupulous individuals in return for financial compensation. In a video (below), the public service TV broadcaster filmed two Kenyan national team members injecting erythropoietin (EPO) in the off season, and published a letter suggesting that Athletics Kenya officials could ‘secure freedom’ for athletes accused of doping.

Athletics Kenya responded by suggesting that journalists had been duped by a fake letter, due to a spelling mistake on its official seal. The Sports Integrity Initiative discovered another Athletics Kenya letter with a different spelling mistake on its official seal (see above picture for both seals. One is missing an ‘L’, the other is missing an ‘I’).

As reported, whilst this doesn’t disprove Athletes Kenya’s claims that the letter could be a forgery, it does show that mistakes with the body’s official seal are not uncommon. Just as it is possible that ZDF’s letter could be a forgery, it is therefore equally possible that the letter could have been produced by a corrupt official. 

ZDF clarified that it never pays people for interviews, and it received affidavits from all the people involved in its investigation into doping in Kenya. An affidavit is a sworn statement that information provided can be used as evidence in court.

‘ZDF German TV never pays a fee for interviews’, read an email from the ZDF press office. ‘Sometimes, like in Kenya, ZDF reimburse people for extra costs, for bus tickets, for taxis, or for an extraordinary amount of time filming, for example. ZDF German TV received personal signed affidavits from all sources in Kenya, stating that everything is the full truth and could be repeated in court.’

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