Sports & Politics

Women's power despite basement league

Women's soccer is gaining momentum. Provided the Corona pandemic doesn't throw a spanner in the works, Borussia Dortmund will launch a women's soccer team on 1 July. Style PASS thinks the concept is great and spoke with Svenja Schlenker, head of the girls' and women's soccer department, and with Managing Director Carsten Cramer.

Style PASS: Hello Ms Schlenker, hello Mr Cramer, women's soccer at BVB is due to start on 1 July. Does the club already have enough female players?

Schlenker: Unfortunately, the planned training sessions in the first quarter of 2021 will be postponed to the second quarter due to Corona. We would like to invite interested players to join us after Easter to test their skills and then put together a squad as quickly as possible. As there is a lot of interest from the girls and women, I am sure we will have a great team on the pitch for the start of the new season.

Style PASS: Your model is interesting, you don't start at the top (which would be possible via a licence takeover), but at the bottom in the B district division. What is so appealing about that?

Cramer: Our goal from the beginning was to put the women's soccer department on as broad a basis as possible. That's why it was important for us to talk to our members and fans in advance in the form of a survey and to show them different ways of entering women's soccer. The vast majority were in favour of starting in the district league. So we were able to find a credible, a Dortmund way.

Style PASS: But surely it is not BVB's ambition to stay in the basement league?

Schlenker: We are an ambitious sports club and naturally want to achieve the greatest possible success. Our goal in women's soccer is therefore, of course, the 1st League. However, we are aware, even if we want to get to the top quickly, that it will not be a foregone conclusion and that we have to and want to fight hard for our goals. In sport - as we all know - anything can happen, and possible rounds of honour are taken into account.

Style PASS: If my calculations are correct, you would have to be promoted seven times to reach the top, which means you would not be in the Bundesliga until the 2028/29 season at the earliest. Is that too long a dry spell for such a famous club?

Cramer: When you climb the ladder successively over the years, you celebrate successes again and again, so I wouldn't call it a lean period. Rather, it is an exciting path that we are taking from the coming season onwards. We will try to master bumps and reach our goal on a straight course if possible.

Style PASS: Munich, Wolfsburg, but also Hoffenheim have upgraded to be able to compete internationally. In contrast, the Dortmund model is downright likeable. What do you see as its special charm?

Cramer: We want to start with a team consisting of girls and women from Dortmund and the surrounding area. Even some of our female employees will be part of the team. Moreover, in the first few years it would not make sense to have Bundesliga players in our ranks. This decision is part of our Dortmund way.

Style PASS: When will the BVB women be allowed to kick in front of a big crowd at the Westfalenstadion?

Cramer: Our short- and long-term goal is the venerable Rote Erde stadium. It is already used for the home games of our U23s and exudes an enormous charm due to its long history. Cult soccer afternoons are virtually pre-programmed.

Style PASS: Compared to men's soccer, the district league budget is probably peanuts. Isn't that a little discriminatory?

Cramer: We want to treat our district league team the same way as other clubs do. If further journeys are made by private car, we pay a flat rate for petrol. This also means that we do not use a team bus to travel to away games in the first few years.
Our coaching team also receives an expense allowance commensurate with the league.


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