At the DFL Members Assembly of the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 on Thursday, the main topic was agreeing the next steps in connection with the summary report of the Future of Professional Football Task Force.
The Executive Committee of the DFL had announced the first measures on 10 February, just one week after the report was unveiled. At that time, it was resolved to create an interdisciplinary advisory board with outside experts to oversee the ongoing implementation process, as well as a working group to boost the financial stability of professional football, with extensive involvement of the Finance Commission.
In addition, the Executive Committee dealt intensively with the task force report in a special meeting. Taking the task force’s recommendations into account, the approach that has now also been discussed in the DFL Members Assembly initially provides for the following next steps, which are to be prioritised in the coming months:
• The DFL will advocate for reforms on international level in regard to the financial framework and represent a position – where possible, in alliance with other leagues – at FIFA and UEFA and in dialogue with political stakeholders. The DFL will participate directly via direct mandates in working groups and indirectly via the leagues’ advocacy groups (European Leagues and World Leagues Forum).
• Binding principles regarding economic, ecological and social sustainability in German professional football are to be established centrally. As a first step, external experts will be consulted in order to draw up a sustainability plan including environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria as potential future standards in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. A comprehensive diversity strategy is also to be devised, primarily in the interests of career opportunities for women in professional football.
• The criteria for dialogue between clubs and fans are to be refined. This process will be implemented in coordination with the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs and with the participation of the existing Fan Culture Working Group. The aim of the dialogues between clubs and fans, established in 2013, is to allow fan perspectives to guide the work of the clubs in a structured and regular cycle.
• The DFL and the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs want to step up their efforts to promote German women’s football. Led by the DFB (German Football Association), which is responsible for this domain, a concept is being devised that will also include a plan of action for further advancement. The DFB and the DFL will cooperate intensively on the development of this concept.
This outline of the next steps is not a statement as to the fundamental relevance of other recommendations from the task force report. The DFL Executive Committee remains committed to advancing the overall process rapidly, with a high level of dedication and follow-through in the months ahead. However, given the complexity of many individual aspects, it remains a fact that the measures cannot simply be implemented overnight. This will be a gradual process. The steps have to be feasible for every single club – and so they have to take into account the economic and structural variety within the DFL, from the reigning Champions League winner to those coming up from 3. Liga.
The task force report sets out a total of 17 recommendations and a goal for 2030 in terms of the way forward in the areas of sport, social integration and sustainability in business. Between October 2020 and January 2021, 37 experts from the fields of sport, society, science, politics and business held open-ended discussions across multiple disciplines on significant issues concerning the future of professional football.
Clubs support IHRA’s Working Definition of Antisemitism
The DFL Members Assembly has also unanimously decided to adopt the working definition of antisemitism used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The 36 professional clubs therefore followed a recommendation to that effect by the Executive Committee of the DFL and are taking a clear and unmistakable stand against all forms of antisemitism. A common understanding of antisemitism is essential if we are to fight it effectively.
The IHRA’s definition states: ‘Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.’
The IHRA is made up of 34 member countries working together to combat antisemitism and has set itself the task of advancing Holocaust education, research and remembrance. The rotating chairmanship is currently held by the Federal Republic of Germany.
(DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga)