Sports & Politics
"Equivalent component of professional soccer"
The fan organisation "Unsere Kurve" is currently making the news with a position paper calling for greater involvement of fans in the "system of professional soccer". Style PASS online spoke with the chairwoman Helen Breit about the current demands.
Style PASS online: Currently, "Unsere Kurve" is making the news with a position paper, "Football as a public sport", in which it calls for greater appreciation of the fans by the clubs. What experiences and incidents led to "Unsere Kurve" now starting with this paper?
Helen Breit: It is not only about appreciation. It is about a fundamental recognition of fans and spectators* as an equal and valuable part of professional soccer. After all, it is the great response of the people that makes professional soccer possible. Financially as well. Time and again, fans are denied the right to participate in shaping professional soccer. They should consume professional soccer, but they should not criticise it and please do not want to change it. Active fans in particular continue to be discredited in public as troublemakers, chaotic people or something else. People are denied the right to be fans, a distinction is made between good and bad fans. This has to end at last.
Style PASS online: What should the clubs do in concrete terms in order to appreciate the fans more?
We recommend the development of a guideline on understanding the meaning and value of fans and fan cultures based on our elaboration. This should then become the basis for action by clubs and associations in all decisions and measures. Furthermore, fan interests must be better taken into account structurally and institutionally. To this end, we propose a new version of the Club-Fan-Dialogue and its extension to the 3rd League. We also propose the establishment of a "Fans & Fan Cultures" commission at the DFB and DFL. A commission is the highest advisory body that exists within the associations. To date, none of the 26 DFB commissions and committees have any that consider soccer fans independently of issues such as safety. At the DFL, there is no committee or commission at all that deals with fans and fan cultures.
Style PASS online: They point to the "diversity" of fans. What could a fan culture look like that reflects this diversity. Are there concrete examples?
Fan culture already reflects this diversity! We have so many different ways of being a fan in Germany. In the stadium, this ranges from seats to standing room, from VIP fans or unorganised fans to fan clubs and ultra groups. Outside the stadium, other forms of fan existence are developing. That is the wonderful thing about fan culture: it is self-determined. Everyone decides for themselves how they want to live out their fan existence. That is why fan culture needs space for development and conditions that make this diversity possible. Without playing off these different types of fans against each other and without creating a hierarchy.
Style PASS online: Unfortunately, Hartz IV and poverty in old age are in some places the dominant features of some people's lives in Germany. Are ticket prices appropriate for these population groups?
Active fans have long been campaigning for socially acceptable ticket prices. The most prominent initiative was "Kein Zwanni für nen Steher". This goal is still valid. And capping ticket prices is still a hotly contested issue. Of course, this also means that seats are available in low-cost contingents. This example clearly shows that active fans do not just stand up for themselves in their fan-political work, but also address issues that benefit all stadium visitors. This is why it is so important that clubs and associations not only listen to organised fans, but also include their concerns in their decisions.
Style PASS online: Women's soccer does not take place in the public perception in the same way as men's soccer. Would clubs have to dig deeper into their pockets to promote women's soccer marketing? Or what is the reason?
I think it would be fatal if women's football was only being promoted because there was hope of earning huge sums of money with it. Is the promotion of women's football only appropriate if it can earn similar sums as men's football? I ask myself where the promotion of sport and equal rights stands. For me, this is a matter of fundamental recognition and the question of equality. Men's soccer generates enormous sums of money - so I see it as a responsibility to promote women's soccer.
Style PASS online: If you had three wishes for the clubs or the DFB, what would they be?
One is enough for me: to implement the declaration of "Our Soccer" in full and without compromise. Let's say until 2022, to support clubs.