The Presidential Board of the German Football Association (DFB) have unanimously agreed to accept the plot of land offered by the city of Frankfurt and start work on a DFB Academy on the site of the city’s racecourse.
The DFB will acquire the land in leasehold and the unencumbered transfer of the site is scheduled for 1 January 2016. The declaration of intent was signed by DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach, Frankfurt’s Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann, DFB General Secretary Helmut Sandrock and Mayor Olaf Cunitz following the Presidential Board’s meeting at The Römer, Frankfurt on Friday.
Completion scheduled for late 2018
The agreement paves the way for a new centre of excellence in the heart of Germany. After an extensive project evaluation phase, the Presidential Board came to the unanimous conclusion that the facility would set the course for the future and that the site offered by Frankfurt was the ideal location. The 150,000-square-metre plot is set to be turned into sports rooms, functional spaces and training pitches, among other things.
The Presidential Board estimate that the projected cost of the facility will be around €50 million, while the potential relocation of DFB’s head office is set to cost approximately €10 million. Construction is scheduled to get underway at the beginning of 2017 and is due to be completed by the end of 2018.
Niersbach: “A unique opportunity”
“This ideal location has given the DFB the unique opportunity for innovative growth over the coming decades,” said DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach. “This incredible project will facilitate the development of German football and we are determined to grasp this opportunity with both hands. Everything at the DFB Academy will be under one roof, from youth development to services for our regional and national associations. We will build a DFB for the future.”
“Our aim is to help shape the future of the DFB which, with approximately 6.8 million members, is one of the most important German sporting organisations,” added Frankfurt’s Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann. “The city welcomes its decision. With an estimated investment volume of around €60 million, it represents a big opportunity for the city and the DFB alike. We see ourselves as the home of German football and want to remain so!”
Friday’s agreement was preceded by an intensive project evaluation phase. On 15 January 2013, the Presidential Board took the decision to explore the option of building a DFB Academy and General Secretary Helmut Sandrock was tasked with overseeing the project. Following a further decision in October 2013 to accord preference to Frankfurt should the project be implemented, internal and external experts were consulted in discussions on possible venues with the city, while the project continued apace.
Sandrock: “An ideal location”
“The speedy outcome is due entirely to our structured approach and the fact that everyone agreed on this vision following our project evaluation,” said Helmut Sandrock. “Our priority is to optimise all processes in one venue and to create synergies. The city has offered us an ideal location. If everything goes to plan, the DFB Academy could be opened in 2018.”
“We have worked hard and in a focused manner as a team in recent months in order to lay the groundwork for the building of the DFB Academy,” added Mayor Olaf Cunitz. “Thanks to our efforts, a forward-looking decision for the DFB and for the city of Frankfurt has been taken today. We will now work towards handing over the plot on 1 January 2016.”
Bierhoff: “A home for the whole of football”
General Manager of the German national team Oliver Bierhoff, who had prompted the debate on a new centre of excellence as early as 2009, also believes that the decision represents a big step for the future: “We want to continue to develop all the time. We’re not only getting a centre for the national teams, but a home for the whole of football. Everyone will profit from the DFB Academy.”
Treasurer Reinhard Grinden shared Bierhoff’s sentiments: “This investment for the future is a financial challenge for us which we intend to facilitate through the restructuring of assets. One thing is clear: Youth development and grassroots football will not suffer as a result of our commitment to the Academy.”
VIDEO | DFB TV report on the DFB Academy
VIDEO | Wolfgang Niersbach (President, DFB)
(DFB Press Release)