The German Football Association (DFB) has more than 6.8 million members, making it one of the biggest social networks in Germany. The DFB is affiliated with 25,456 clubs.
In the first statistical survey in 1904, there were 9,317 members from 194 clubs. Around 900 new football clubs were founded in the following six years, which added more than 80,000 new members. It was the start of a unique triumph for the beautiful game.
The number of members reached 756,703 after the First World War and the number of clubs grew to 4,361, out of which there were 20,088 active teams. The million mark was surpassed for the first time in 1932 as the number of members reached 1,025,326. In 1950, when football within the DFB was back up to full speed again following the Second World War, the statistics show that there were 13,076 clubs, with 1,416,256 members from 54,053 teams.
The upward trend continued year upon year. In 1960, there were 1,950,957 members, 14,380 clubs and 66,371 teams registered. The statistics in 1970 showed that this increased to 2,794,309 members, 16,453 clubs and 86,117 teams. In 1980, the number of members reached 4,321,304, in addition to the number of clubs and teams standing at 18,613 and 123,828 respectively. In 1990, there were 4,829,698 members, 21,826 clubs and 121,912 teams.
After the reunification with the former East German Football Association, the five million barrier was surpassed as the number of members reached 5,245,535 in 1991. At this point, there were 138,992 teams from 26,162 clubs affiliated with the DFB. At the turn of the millennium, the German Football Association had 6,255,299 members from 172,716 teams within 16,697 clubs.
In 2013, there were 6,822,233 footballers in the 21 national associations of the DFB, 22,105 up on the previous year. There were 22,456 clubs in the DFB. Week after week, 165,229 teams were taking part in matches. In particular, football among children and youths remains as popular as ever. In total, 100,035 junior teams are active in the national associations of the DFB. Membership at a senior level has risen by 34,436 to 3,849,825. With 11,503 new additions, the number of members in the women’s game grew to 746,406.
Whilst the number of members continues to grow, the amount of clubs and teams registered with the national associations has decreased. Nevertheless, the more than 6.8 million active and passive members in 2013 shows a clear positive development on the whole in the DFB and is further proof of how much football truly fascinates people.
“It’s an impressive figure and the development underlines the importance of football in Germany”, said then DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach. “We therefore know that we, as the DFB, must ensure that we continue to offer a good and interesting service in the future in order to counteract the demographic trends. Our association aims to meet this challenge.” With the adoption of the Football Master Plan and the Amateur Football Campaign, important steps are being taken in the right direction.