At this year’s German Football Ambassador (Deutscher Fußball Botschafter) Award ceremony, which was opened by Deutsche Telekom AG’s host Michael Hagspihl, Uli Stielike came out on top in the main category against former Orlando Pirates (South Africa) coach Joe Zinnbauer and Selangor FC’s Malaysian-based sports director Michael Feichtenbeiner.
Chelsea FC’s Kai Havertz won the audience award, which was determined by fans via online voting. He beat Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Sara Däbritz of Paris Saint German. FC Bayern Munich was the first club to win the award in the Honorary Award category. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge received the award on behalf of the club.
The high-profile event focused on the social potential of soccer. Once again, this year, the prize money will be used to support soccer-related social projects around the world. For example, the main prize will go to Bolivia, South Africa, and Malaysia. In addition, Kai Havertz selected DRK Fluthilfe and Bayern Munich selected FC Bayern Hilfe e.V. for their commitment.
The jury, made up of renowned soccer personalities, nominated Michael Feichtenbeiner, Joe Zinnbauer and the eventual winner, Uli Stielike, for the top prize. Vice world champion and European champion Stielike, who led Real Madrid to numerous titles in the seventies and eighties, went on to coach the national teams of Germany (U19 – U21), the Ivory Coast and South Korea, with whom he was runner-up in Asia, in addition to several international clubs. The eulogy for Uli Stielike was given by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, with whom he played together for eight years in the German national team.
Commenting on the nominees, Roland Bischof, president of the German Football Ambassador Association, said: “All three have contributed to Germany’s positive image in the world through their work abroad. This is the decisive criterion in a nomination by the jury”.
Former FC Bayern player and current soccer expert Dietmar “Didi” Hamann held the laudatory speech for FC Bayern Munich, which won all six major club titles last year, something only FC Barcelona had done until then. In addition, he has also founded his own association for this purpose, the Engagement FC Bayern Hilfe e.V.. Through its great sporting performance, the club drew worldwide attention and once again helped to represent German soccer positively in the world. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed his thanks, saying, “If we have been able to contribute to this reputation, it makes us as grateful as it does humble. Soccer is and remains one of the most unifying elements of society”.
In a short talk with Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, and Dr. Norbert Taubken, the different motives and implementation approaches to the topic of “Football & Social Commitment” were discussed. In addition, the non-profit organisation presented its new project “Champs of Charity”, in which numerous soccer personalities of formerly victorious German World Cup and European Championship teams participate to raise money for social projects. Berti Vogts, Uli Hoeneß and Bernd Schuster were the first to have their portraits taken by the artist “Flör” for the good cause.
The fact that the club has long since grown together into a family of soccer ambassadors was also demonstrated by the fact that numerous former nominees and winners came to Berlin – such as Eckhard Krautzun, Gert Engels, Bernd Stange and Horst Kriete, whom initiator Roland Bischof visited in China, Japan, Singapore, and South Africa at the time and who obviously enjoyed their relaxed reunion on stage.
In 2022, the German Football Ambassador will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
(German Football Ambassador)