Dearest football friends,
A year of growth and change, both on and off the pitch, is now behind us. Soon, the process starts anew as we head into a year with a major international summer tournament, one that will Germany will co-host. We will be gracious and welcoming hosts; anybody who visits Munich during this pan-continental European Championship has this to look forward to, in much the same that we are looking forward to our national team taking on some great opponents. In world champions France and European champions Portugal, we have been drawn in the most difficult group, but also the most interesting. It was not an unlucky draw, but a fortunate one; the games that every football fan wants to see are now taking place in the group stages.
Excitement for the Euros has been building since our team qualified. Head coach Joachim Löw went through with an upheaval of the squad, in which he pledged to trust in younger players, and signalled that he would no longer call up experienced world champions, such as Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jérôme Boateng. These three players have contributed so much to the DFB, and I would like to give them my sincerest thanks for their service. In spite of all the changes, our national team won seven of their ten matches this year. Our players were not only successful, but also likeable and affable. Long may it continue.
For our women’s national team, the highlight of the came after the World Cup in France, which unfortunately did not go as well as we had hoped. Playing in front of 77,000 spectators in the legendary Wembley Stadium and winning was not just a highlight for Martina Voss-Tecklenburg and her young team, but for us all. The potential of women’s football was on view for all to see. I wish that more professional German clubs would follow England’s example and understand that women’s and men’s football are the same sport. There is only one football. If everyone takes up the mantle of progressing women’s football, we will catch up to other nations, which are slightly ahead of us right now.
2019 also saw a lot of incredible volunteer work being done in German football. And in order for this to continue, we must protect and strengthen volunteer work, by lobbying politicians for better all-round conditions. We must also recognise hard work, because what our volunteers do for our some 25,000 clubs is all too often taken as a matter of course, which it absolutely is not. It is an essential engagement for the whole community, and so we give thanks to all those involved from the bottom of our hearts. We know that your contributions must be valued, and we stand beside you, at grassroots level and at the very top. Because one thing is certain; without volunteers there is no football.
I wish you and your families a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020.
President of the DFB