“Football – more than 1-0”
This life motto of Dr. h.c. Egidius Braun, former president of the German Football Association (DFB), defined his commitment to demonstrating the relevance of football as an important social activity. The foundation that carries his name – the DFB-Stiftung Egidius Braun – builds on this commitment, preserving the honorary president’s lifetime achievement and taking it further.
Football in Germany is grounded on two pillars: professional football and amateur football. Over the last decades these were complemented by a third pillar dedicated to “football – social integration and social policy”.
The DFB-Stiftung Egidius Braun, founded in 2001, has been particularly active in this area. Its activities are characterised by charitable support beyond football and the development of social competences within football. This is illustrated by projects like “Children in need”, which mainly supported kids in Eastern Europe, or the “Mexico-Hilfe”, which addresses a variety of social issues, such as street kids in Puebla.
Since 2015, in the successive programmes “1-0 for a Welcome” and “2-0 for a Welcome”, more than 3700 grant applications by grassroots football clubs engaging in work with refugees have been processed, in collaboration with the Commissioner of the Federal Government for Migration, Refugees and Integration.
In a first step, football clubs were supported with a flat-rate grant of 500 euros each. In addition, football clubs and associations were awarded individual grants for further social integration approaches. Thus, since March 2015, a total of 2,3 million Euros have been spent for our welcome initiatives. This campaign is one of the most accomplished examples in Europe of the social inclusion of refugees through football.
In 2020 and 2021, we changed the focus to educational programmes that qualify migrants for volunteering activities in football. Empowering newly arrived people to engage actively in the football community, training them for instance as referees or coaches, has now become a major objective for us.
Moreover, we developed a new leadership program for refugees who are already working as volunteers in football clubs. The corona pandemic forced us to postpone the programme to late summer 2021.
“Learn from each other in the FIRE+ network”
As you can see our motivation to support social inclusion of refugees in Germany is far from exhausted. Quite the contrary: we want to share our knowledge and our ideas within the FIRE+ network with other organisations throughout Europe. This is one of the reasons why we joined the project. It seems obvious to us that all partners of FIRE+ are specialized in different fields and have expertise in their respective areas. We see a great chance to bundle this know-how, learn from each other, and use our skills to promote social inclusion in Europe.
We also want to use our impressive network of a thousand football organisations to find substantial evidence on how and why social inclusion through football works. Moreover, we want to support those organisations in their own effort of improvement. Egidius Braun definitely had a point: football is more than a 1-0.