In its Social Responsibility Dialogue Forum, German Football Federation DFB addressed issues affecting the sport beyond the pitch. During the event hosted at DFB headquarters on 28 November 2019, DFB president Fritz Keller welcomed the participants in reinforcing the great challenges and responsibilities of DFB in this field. As a part of his introductory address, Keller inter alia pointed to the DFB statutory commitment (introduced in September 2019) to respect all internationally recognised human rights as a step into the right direction.
A central content contribution to the Dialogue Forum was provided by Prof Dr Günther Bachmann, General Secretary of the German Council for Sustainable Development. His presentation themed “Sustainability – A Very Special Mega-Trend” was followed by a number of dialogue formats throughout the event. The broad width of delegates attending the event included representatives from state and regional football federations just like actors from civil society next to experts and representatives on sustainability and human rights in sport. They included former German nationals Cacau, now DFB commissioner for integration, and Thomas Hitzelsperger, current chairman of the board at VfB Stuttgart football club and DFB commissioner for diversity.
A panel discussion inlcuding Prof. Dr. Günther Bachmann, Björn Fecker (head of the DFB social responsibility committee and the Green faction in Bremen state parliament), Sylvia Schenk (Transparency International) and Thomas Hitzlsperger provided for a general look at themes of sustainability and human rights while upholding an organised football perspective. Subsequent specialised expert discussions enabled specific considerations, exchange of experiences made, and suggestions for potential next steps to take in football and sports.
Jonas Burgheim, founder and director of the Cares Project, contributed to the event upon invitation by DFB. He provided an expert contribution to the panel “Fair Play, Human and Children Rights”. The panel allowed for an animated exchange of participants from in- and outside DFB on the perspectives and challenges in the field of football and human rights in practice. It also gave room to suggestions for further steps to take in implementing the DFB statutory human rights committment. This will also be of relevance for a successful hosting of the European football championship 2024 in Germany according to statements made by representatives of the event organisers during the dialogue forum.