The DFB has never invested more into grassroots football than they did in 2014. During the DFB’s annual general assembly in Weimar, it was decided by the DFB chairmanship to increase financial support by an extra three million euros. The funds will help sustain Germany’s main idea regarding football: Football should be affordable for everyone and everyone should be able to play football. Today and in the future.
The average cost per family is 3.50 euros a month, if their son or daughter takes part in organised football – no matter if it’s a pure football club is or a club incorporating various sports. That’s what it says in the current sport’s development study. Children pay an average of three euros, while adults play six euros. The entire family (two grown-ups, two children) pay roughly nine euros a month.
The price-service ratio is unbeatable. While 3.50 euros is not enough to afford the parking fees for a shopping mother or a pack of cigarettes for the smoking father, it is enough to enable a child the possibility to participate in a hobby with their friends, get a feeling of solidarity and compete with others. All of this takes place under close supervision, without additional fees for the coaching staff. No renting of equipment or space is required. However, insurance is included, that will immediately take effect in case of an injury or accident.
All that is needed to take part are generally football shoes and shin guards. An additional grant might be needed if the team decides to purchase a tracksuit. The rest is usually supplied by the club for free: Shirt, shorts, socks and training equipment. “A big strength in German youth football is that it’s approachable for everybody and all levels of society can join, regardless of their origin, education or financial situation,” said DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach.
The work that’s being done in the districts and the clubs can’t be praised enough, according to Niersbach. A huge effort is made every year: Coaches and instructors get paid, sporting grounds have to be tended to, events organised and executed and daily issues have to be solved. This is often an immense effort, which is often done by volunteers. An invaluable worth for football. Football shall remain an affordable enjoyment for all members. Ensuring this remains one of the most important tasks for Germany’s football association, says Niersbach. Thus, more money is being invested into grassroots than ever before. Eight million euros in grants were paid to national associations by DFB this year.
Five million Euros is the regular annual grant. Three million Euros were supplied from DFB’s expected annual net profit. This was decided by DFB’s chairmanship in Weimar, during their last meeting in 2014. “The work being done at grassroots level plays a huge part in the success of German football. The additional funds are aimed to help the national associations in their support of the clubs,” explained Niersbach. DFB treasurer Reinhard Grindel added: “Since we believe that the fourth star belongs to everybody, we want to make sure that all of football is allowed to profit from it even more.” That means that the DFB will supply funds, which will give the national associations more leeway in the completion of their work.
It’s difficult to measure the commitment of those taking part in football, but the statistics speak for themselves. Services and projects, that benefit amateur football, add up to an additional 14.5 million euros. Examples are DFB-Mobil, the new FUSSBALL.DE, organising playing schedules on DFBnet, the promotion of volunteer work and the extensive qualifying measures for the clubs and their employees. The service offers were significantly widened.
Particularly online training, which encompasses hundreds of exercises for all age groups, provides concrete and practical help. “The entire ‘Training and Service’ section on FUSSBALL.DE is a huge service provision, able to offer help on a daily basis,” said Dr. Rainer Koch, 1. DFB Vice-Presidents of the amateurs. His colleague Peter Frymuth, director of the amateur guidance group and DFB Vice President for match operations and football development, speaks about “probably the most important step for clubs, to become even great service providers for amateur football in the Internet.”
All measures in the master plan, which were initiated in 2012 during the amateur congress in Kassel, are being propelled by the guidance group and are currently being implemented. “We have taken big steps in the right direction and have put on a lot of projects. Amateur football has moved more into the centre of the people’s perception,” said Koch. This is backed up by the amateur football campaign, which has been running since the DFB general assembly in October 2013.
Professional football is also plays a major role in the grassroots support. Amateur football is given an annual grant of approximately 6.5 million euros through the DFL’s basic treaty – plus an additional one million euros solidarity fee from the league. In total, the support provided in 2014 was roughly 30 million euros. “This means that every club is given roughly 1,200 euros annually,” said Willi Hink, DFB director for amateur football, qualifications, referees and social responsibilities. An average value for roughly 25.500 clubs.
All these stats do not include the creativity, the commitment, the flexibility and the daily improvement taking place in the many small clubs around the nation. The high level of individual initiative in the grassroots, volunteers, the work in regional and national associations, as well as the additional benefits of the DFB – they all aim towards a mutual path, which Wolfgang Niersbach summarises in the following way: “Our aim will always remain to keep football affordable for everyone and make it available as much as possible.”