The DFB have begun with the building of their new base and academy. Administration and sport are set to be housed under the same roof in Niederrad, a city district of Frankfurt am Main. Just like hosting the European Championships in 2024, this is a flagship project for the DFB. General secretary Dr. Friedrich Curtius and director of the national team and academy, Oliver Bierhoff, spoke about the plans and potential of the new building in an interview with DFB.de.
DFB.de: Mr Curtius, what does the building of the new centre mean for the association?
Dr. Friedrich Curtius: We’re making important steps for the future of our organisation. The building of the new DFB and academy is a flagship project. The top and the base will both profit from it equally. The project won’t just contain the academy, but the whole of the DFB, which is currently bursting at the seams. Our current home at Otto-Fleck-Schneise has become too small, and part of the staff have already had to move into rented premises in Frankfurt-Niederrad.
Oliver Bierhoff: I’ve been experiencing what you’re talking about every day at work. We feel very comfortable and have good opportunities in the branch on Goldsteinstraße. But of course we’re looking forward to the reunion with everyone. Despite all the technical possibilities, it’s just something else when you see your colleagues in the corridors.
Dr. Curtius: The new building gives us a lot of options. And it’s coming at the right time. Especially with hosting the Euros in 2024, there are more challenges that require resources and space. Therefore I’m very pleased that we can bring it all together under one roof and pool our resources for more firepower. We want to create a sense of home for our football family with all our services, together with the new DFB.
DFB.de: Mr Bierhoff, it was your birthday on 1st May. Is the work starting today sort of a belated present?
Bierhoff: Of course I’m glad about the work starting. The project has been very important to me for more than a decade. But I wouldn’t call it a gift, it’s more of a reward for the consistently good work of all the parties under the responsibility of Friedrich. We’ve come a long way, and we had to do some work to convince people at points. But that was never a big problem, because we were convinced. I can remember the regional conference in 2017. We visited the DFL and regional associations to promote the project. We exchanged arguments and ideas, and the response was huge. Today, we can finally start to bring our vision to life.
DFB.de: What opportunities does the building offer beyond that?
Bierhoff: In terms of sports, we’re working to return to the best in the world. The new DFB and its academy are a key piece of the puzzle for laying the foundations for future success. In that, there are a lot of positives for the entirety of football in Germany. I regularly exchange ideas with the DFL managing director Christian Seifert and the managers and sporting directors. They’re positive that the building is already having an effect today, even though it’s not built yet, it’s setting the bar for the players in German football. We identify trends and offer things to make our coaches, players and experts even better.
Dr. Curtius: There’s a spirit of optimism around the new building. There’s also a lot of anticipation about our new home. I can sense that in my conversations with colleagues at DFB. They develop, think and live the new DFB. For me, this connection with the association and its development is a clear sign of how important and correct the new building is.
DFB.de: How are things going to continue after work started?
Dr. Curtius: With Winfried Naß, our head of the project, it’s in very competent hands. I’ve learned a few key facts: the excavation pit is dug first, and it’s over 300m long. Then, the underground foundations are laid. The concrete should be poured into slabs in summer so that we can complete the laying of the foundations in autumn. Our goal is to complete the construction by 2021.
DFB.de: Let’s jump a few years into the future: how do you imagine everyday life in the new grounds?
Bierhoff: The coaches are raving about the fact that they’ll finally have a home with their teams. You can work with the players on the pitch in the morning, and then meet the experts from the academy for lunch, and discuss new ideas in the evening. There should be a constant flow of energy. We want to develop football and share our knowledge together in a way that we can apply it.
Dr. Curtius: All our colleagues will feel this in their daily work. It’ll be a huge plus that the administration department is close to the sporting one. The employees see what they’re working towards – for football and for the common good. The new DFB building will be a place of enthusiasm, ideas and meetings. This enthusiasm will also send positive signals to our society.###more###