‘You Can Buy It In Any Pharmacy’ – Russia Team Doctor Freely Admits Players Sniffed Ammonia Before World Cup Games

Chris Wright

10th, July 2018


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The Russian Football Federation’s team doctor has freely admitted that Russia players huffed on ammonia to boost their work rate during the World Cup.

This comes after German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) accused the Russians of “sniffing cotton balls doused in the chemical” to enhance their performances in games against Spain and Croatia.

“It is known to help improve athletic performance, by stimulating breathing and improving the flow of oxygen in the blood,” the paper claimed.

Turns out that SZ were absolutely bang on. However, the doctor in question, Dr Eduard Bezuglov, has also pointed out that ammonia is not an illegal substance, nor is it considered such by international doping authorities.

As quoted by Spanish paper AS, Dr Bezuglov told the Russia media:

We are talking about a simple ammoniac that you apply to buds of cotton wool and then inhale. Thousands of athletes do the same thing to give themselves a lift. It’s been in use for decades.

It is not only used in sport but also in everyday life when someone loses consciousness of feel dizzy because of the strong smell it gives off.

You can go to any pharmacy and buy ammonia and cotton buds. It does not constitute doping.

Smelling salts, basically.

It’s somewhere akin to getting all worked up about Russian footballers brazenly drinking dihydrogen monoxide when they’re uncomfortably warm and dehydrated.

Technically speaking, that’s still a ‘perform enhancing” substance, no?

Posted in World Cup

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  1. Murray says:

    Sure, huffing ammonia is every bit as commonplace in my life as drinking a glass of water. I do it all the time.

  2. Comfy Chair says:

    No, water is technically NOT a ‘perform enhancing” substance, since it is REQUIRED to sustain life. Compare this to cocaine, EPO, blood doping, ammonia, NONE of which perform the same function.

    The use of ammonia in this context clearly falls into the ‘unfair advantage’ category. If players need to use this similar to ‘smelling salts,’ it reflects their poor fitness level. The simple solution: train more, or more efficiently!

    • Marvin says:

      It is no more unfair advantage than using magnesium cream or electrolytes, or for that matter protein supplements and caffeine. No doubt your favourite team avoids all of these and just ‘trains more, or more efficiently’.
      It is just smelling salts. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Miike says:

    It reeks of covering up other performance enhancers.

    I don’t think ammonia explains how the old-ass Russians looked like they were in great shape for the second half of extra time, when multiple Croatian players were collapsing or getting small tweaks on ligaments.

  4. Snappl says:

    I saw this in the Champions League too. Can’t remember which club(s). But it’s not new. A lot of teams do it and nobody cared. But evil Russia did it now. Everybody writes about it…

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