In the Schöneberg district of Berlin is the FC International to find. The association, founded in 1980, has around 1,200 members and has received a number of prizes, including the award given by the Federal Ministry of the Interior “Ambassador for Democracy and Tolerance” and the integration price of the DFB. Gerd Thomas is the chairman of the club, whose 50 teams have “No Racism” on their jerseys instead of a sponsor’s name. The sports show met Thomas in the club’s office for a detailed discussion.
Gerd Thomas, what is the DFB doing right?
Gerd Thomas: Well, the one DFB ensures, together with the state and regional associations, that gaming operations are organized, that the entire passport and registration system works. He gives the regional associations a wide range of tools to ensure that day-to-day business works. The DFB also gives a lot of money to the regional associations, and it’s always easy to say that the DFB is doing everything wrong. Now the DFB has either 27 or seven million members, depending on how it suits you. But I wouldn’t pick the DFB that much.
Thomas: I think there are some pretty good people working at the DFB. Although I am concerned that the new, overpriced academy could create a new ivory football tower that is even further away from the base. But one would also have to question: What do the regional associations actually do with the large amount of money from the DFB? It is actually the case that the DFB is partly right to say: We cannot intervene in the day-to-day business of the regional associations. Of course, the DFB has a somewhat questionable transparency and participation behavior, which is why I am in favor of the primary election. But that also applies at least to the regional associations, and the regional associations are almost never questioned. The journalists then have to question themselves.
The DFB is the umbrella organization and the people who represent it are very well known to the general public.
Thomas: These personal feuds that run at the DFB are unsavory, but sometimes quite entertaining. As a heavy user, however, with all of the mutual spying, I have also noticed that there haven’t been so many new things in the past few months. The old sauce is often warmed up there.
Are you addressing the criticism of DFB interim president Rainer Koch, who is also 1st vice president amateurs?
Thomas: The fact is: he has never been convicted so far, so he has not been guilty of anything. This also applies to others at the DFB. I think Rainer Koch keeps the place in order to some extent.
Thomas: What doesn’t work at all is clearing up the many inconsistencies. Keyword “summer fairy tale”, keyword “intrigue”. It’s a problem for all of football. The bad image of the DFB naturally also affects amateur football, directly on the clubs. I would also like the DFB to act much more actively and much, much more clearly in the area of social responsibility.
It actually looks like there will be a fight vote for the first time in the history of the DFB. Bernd Neuendorf and Peter Peters have already been nominated. How do you see this process?
Thomas: So it is no longer surprising. You know a lot is going to happen, you just don’t know when and by whom.
Do you think it will get dirty?
Thomas: I don’t know if “dirty” is the right term. But the fact that the West German Football and Athletics Association sends two candidates into the race is a bit funny. Perhaps the DFB or the DFB leadership really want to dare more democracy. That would be great.
Mr. Thomas, irony works really badly when written down.
Thomas: I have a bit of a suspicion that democracy is not the main reason. but – well – Peter Peters is of course a man of professionals. In the amateur camp, which is always portrayed as a Gallic village against professional football, not all palisades seem to hold. The cohesion in the amateur camp is probably not that great. In principle, I think a real choice in the sense of selection is good. There are also people from the amateur camp – or who pretend they are amateur representatives – who say we have to build a counter-organization to the DFL. I don’t think we have to.
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Amateur representative Gerd Thomas on DFB candidates: “Have to change the system”