Celia Sasic has carried out her work as an ambassador for Germany’s bid for the 2024 European Championships with her usual aplomb. Last year, she carried the Womens’ DFB Pokal trophy into the Kölner Arena before kick-off, but at the end of April, she had a different kind of task on her hands – and one that may see her play a role in shaping the future of European and German football. Together with DFB president Reinhard Grindel, general secretary Dr. Friedrich Curtius and World Champion and DFB honorary captain Philipp Lahm, Sasic submitted Germany’s application documents for the 2024 Euros to the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The documents carried a lot of weight, both literally, as they were written by the DFB delegation on behalf of the whole of Germany football, and metaphorically, as the Bid Book tips the scales at 8.65kg, consisting of 868 pages, as well as 760 pages of letters of support from representatives from sport, politics and the economy.
Furthermore, the DFB delegation presented UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis with a comprehensive sustainability concept for the tournament, which was not demanded by UEFA, but was developed additionally by the DFB with help from various stakeholders. It is something that Sasic values highly. The DFB’s application has and also continues to receive support from the government of Germany.
“In Germany, we know how to organise tournaments and what effects they can have on a country and a whole continent,” said Sasic. “Therefore, we are convinced that the correct decision would be to allow Germany to host the 2024 European Championships. It would open opportunities for everyone involved – for UEFA, for Germany, for the fans, for the other countries. EURO 2024 in Germany would absolutely be a win for everyone.”
The German football federation’s application is accompanied by the motto: “United by football - In the heart of Europe”. It is a slogan Celia Sasic can relate to; her father is from Cameroon, her mother from France and her husband’s family is Croatian. Meanwhile, football also runs in the family, as her husband Marko is a footballer, while her father-in-law is Milan Sasic, the coach who famously led second-division MSV Duisburg to the 2011 DFB Pokal final.
Sasic has been a German citizen since 2004. She was born and grew up in Bonn and is a perfect example that diversity enriches a country. Sasic became a European Champion with Germany in 2009 and 2013, while in 2008, she won an Olympic bronze medal with the German team. In 2014, triumph in the DFB Pokal with 1. FFC Frankfurt followed, although she was forced to sit out of the final due to injury. She did, however, take part in the celebrations on the turf of the Rhein-Energie-Stadion – one of ten stadiums included in Germany’s 2024 Euros application.
Sasic’s playing career ended in 2015, but two days before submitting the Bid Book to UEFA, she put her boots back on to line up alongside Ronaldinho, Cafu, Patrick Kluivert and Youri Djorkaeff, and against Luis Figo, Raul and Andrea Pirlo. The Match for Solidarity was played in front of more than 20,000 spectators and Sasic had her moment in the spotlight when she scored passed former Brazil goalkeeper, 2002 Word Cup champion and two-time Champions League winner, Dida. In the end, Figo’s team won 4-3, but the result was secondary to the proceeds raised for children in need.
DFB president Reinhard Grindel also purchased a Cypriot national team jersey for the good cause at the auction at the Charity gala after the game. Before the match, Sasic, along with football stars from across the world, visited the United Nations office at Geneva. For Sasic, the meaning of the “United by football” slogan goes way beyond what happens on the football pitch.