The doctor threw the professor out: a heated argument between two men overshadowed the press conference of the doping victims’ association (DOH).
When anti-doping expert werner franke tried to gain access to the conference room at the federal foundation for the reappraisal of the sed dictatorship, DOH chairman michael lehner jumped up and forced the 79-year-old out of the room. The two men scuffled, a reporter rushed in to mediate, and some feared an escalation. But then franke grudgingly gave in.
The professor of molecular biology, who had traveled from heidelberg to berlin, finally gave in. But before franke went off the rails, he issued an invitation to a counter-event: "if you want to hear the truth, you have to come to maximilians" an hour later and 100 meters away, the number one german doping investigator spoke in the restaurant about his views on the long-smoldering dispute between DOH critics and the aid association, which was founded in 1999.
"For me it was a provocation! I had to sit him out, because otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to finish our discussion here in peace," lehner explained, visibly upset. Even before the press conference, there had been a tussle between the two at the entrance to the federal foundation. "I was attacked by franke several times – strictly speaking, that was trespassing and bodily harm. I couldn’t help but push franke out," lehner said. The 64-year-old has been DOH chief since december 2018.
The lawyer with a doctorate in law had even represented franke legally in the past. Already on 7. August he sent the scientist an e-mail that left no questions unanswered: "as far as the house right of the DOH e.V. Wealth, they can therefore be granted access or. Participation in the press conference not made possible."In response to several of lehner’s offers to speak – most recently on 5. August by mail – to the understanding with the DOH critics the professor did not go in according to lehner.
"The dispute is in my interest, because as a scientist i am committed to the truth," franke postulated at his private pk in the restaurant on friedrichstrabe. Critics call for reform of the association; they had defamed doping victims seeking compensation as "freeloaders.
In his zeal, franke likes to go one better: "the freeloaders are the people who now, after 30 years, discover that there is money to be made there."For classification: GDR athletes who had suffered health damage due to state doping were entitled to a one-time payment of 10.Apply for 500 euros from a state fund. However, it is not the DOH itself that can decide on this – that is the responsibility of the federal ministry of the interior.
The positive news faded in the shadow of the eclat. In the first six months of 2019 alone, around 150 people contacted the foundation’s advisors for the first time. Since the foundation, there have been over 1000 recognized doping victims so far. To the 1. September will be a new permanent position for professional support and advice, announced DOH treasurer petra westphal proudly. "This is a huge success for us!"But at the same time she already had the feeling that the man dispute would get far more attention in the media: "if we’re in the press tomorrow with this shit, then the whole thing was for the ass today."