Reform of elite sport: how to curb it

DGermany, the country of horses, the world power of equestrians. But here the horse always flinches from behind. The Budget Committee of the Bundestag has just taken over from Nancy Faser, the Minister of the Interior, in reforming the financing and control of elite sports. The so-called independent agency she wants to create to do this won’t come soon enough.

Of the money that was provided for the foundation next year, 600 thousand euros, only a third is in the budget, and this is only available for viewing. The ministry will only gain access once a seat is allocated for parliamentary representatives on oversight committees, which was not previously planned. The homeowners took the opportunity to impose a number of additional conditions.

Since Thomas de Maizières demanded another third medal from FAZ in 2015 in exchange for increased funding for his company for elite sport, sport and the Home Office have faced difficulties in reforming elite sport. The success of this sport depends on the scale.

Fist in your pocket

At the Olympic Games from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2021 there has been a decline in medals: from 42, of which 17 gold, to 37 and 10. Medal counters, without any sense of an intensification of the anti-doping fight in Germany, indicate a decline since the golden days of Barcelona in 1992 , when the young team achieved 33 Olympic victories and won 82 medals, more than the Rio and Tokyo teams combined. It is a coup for the sport that funding from the Home Office alone has almost tripled since De Maizière cracked the whip, to a good €300 million.

Nancy Feiser is in the saddle now. She wanted to gallop through the most difficult obstacles: de-bureaucratization, potential-oriented financing, concentration of athletes and funds, incentives through the law on sports financing. Now, it’s likely nothing will happen to the agency’s work, which began before the 2025 federal election. So sports officials are clenching their fists in their pockets. What will happen to their agreements with politicians?

Eighth year of reform

Some people have made no secret of their expectation that the government will punish the member of the ruling SPD party who was the reason for their fines. However, they underestimate the solidarity of parliamentarians. They will ensure that the objectives of the reform must first be defined. This has long been handed over to the German Confederation of Olympic Sports and the German Athletes’ Representation. Discussions are scheduled to begin next year.

In the eighth year of reform, these important debates have moved from the end to where they belong: at the beginning of the process, without any postponement. Finally, the question of whether public funding for elite sport in Germany should be directed solely towards medal counting will be discussed. Should it serve to convey national or social identity, integration, motivation and justice.

And shouldn’t this primarily have a role model effect, attracting people to sport and promoting health. Fifteen months ago, in August 2022, all this inspired athletes in Germany to analyze: “Why is this worth it to us?” Athletes are demanding a new social contract to support them.

No, the point is not that an individual MP was stung by oats: the demand for modern legitimation of public funding is not the foothills of elite sport.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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