There is great anticipation ahead of the DFB’s third amateur football congress, which will be held between the 22nd and 24th February 2019. The sole focus of the congress will be the future of German amateur football. As the next meeting is only a couple of months away, it is an appropriate time to look back at the progress that came about from the previous amateur congress in 2012.
288 delegates, including 92 representatives from 42 local football associations, will meet in Kassel in February 2019 to discuss five key themes on how to improve local football. All the participants have held their own so-called satellite congresses in seven separate German states (Baden, Berlin, South Baden, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Saarland, Rhineland). This has increased the number of representatives of grassroots football at the congress. The satellite congresses will follow the same themes and structure as the main congress and all conclusions will be reported back to the DFB. The main topics of discussion will be club football in 2024, general parameters for clubs, the DFB in 2024, education and training in 2024 as well as digitalisation of amateur football.
The future development of amateur football was the main focus of the second congress in 2012. The outcome was that the DFB will support individual associations at state level and will create an extensive support and cooperation network with amateur clubs across the whole of Germany, including financial support. The DFB committee introduced a master plan in 2013 based on the recommendations of the 2012 congress. The main three features of this master plan were the development of game operations, communication and services by clubs.
After the first three years of its introduction, the master plan was extended until 2019. The main focus of the plan is to help the clubs and their members with more information, better training and professional advice.
• Extension of online services: Match reports for 95 percent of football games in Germany are available online. Passes for players, to allow them to register for a club, are increasingly being processed online. ‘Pass Online’, which was introduced after the 2012 congress, covers 75 percent of all player passes.
• Introduction of the ‘FairPlay-Liga’: This idea was introduced nationwide after an initial testing period. The FairPlay-Liga is used in youth games involving players up to the age of eight where no referee is present during the game. Instead, the players must come up with the correct decisions during the game and coaches can intervene if necessary. Parents are made to stand a certain distance away from the pitch to reduce their influence on the game. This concept has been tried and tested.
• Recognition for acts of fair play, such as awarding of fair play medals.
• Handshakes before the game, as done by professional footballers.
• Increased integration, such as the ‘1-0 für ein Wilkommen’ project.
• More diversity in committees, such as women in leadership positions.
• Increased availability and opportunities for over 50s football.
• Methods of refereeing: New system of support for new, trainee referees; more training for referees; referees to be checked and approved by DFB authorities.
• Nationwide recognition of Futsal as an official form of indoor football.
• DFB becoming more mobile: 2,400 visits to clubs nationwide per year.
• Approximately 5,000 football camps held each year.
• 2,000 courses on football management on offer.
• Introduction of the ‘DFB Junior Coach’ course: Approximately 15,000 children and young people took part on this course.
• Voluntary schemes such as ‘Fußballhelden – Aktion junges Ehrenamt’.
• Re-launch of FUSSBALL.DE as a central platform for amateur football, which has been in use since July 2014.
• Campaigns for amateur football such as ‘Unsere Amateure. Echte Profis’.
• Hold discussions with clubs in every state. 713 discussions between 2013 and 2016, roughly 250 per year.