DrThe public hearing of the Bundestag Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid on “sport and human rights” on Wednesday without the participation of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) and the German Football Association (DFB), the country’s largest sports organization, was met with incomprehension even in the coincidence of the House of Representatives “We agree Within the Sports Committee we look at this very critically.“As a sports politician, I am missing important players in sports politics on the expert list for this session,” says Fritz Gönzler, head of the Federation faction at the Sports Committee in the German Bundestag.
Especially against the backdrop of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the past Winter Olympics in Beijing, a hearing on this topic cannot be held without DFB and DOSB. The Sports Commission meets at the same time and deals with first-class sports reform.
The head of the Human Rights Committee, an MP from the Free Democratic Party, Renata Alt, justified the absence of associations with limited opportunities. “As with public hearings in the past, each political group could invite only a limited number of experts,” she said. “For this reason, we were not able to take into account all the relevant actors on the topic when choosing. However, we tried everything we could to consider different perspectives, biographies and experiences in order to enable a contrasting and lively discussion.”
Michael Brand, a spokesperson for the CDU and CSU parliamentary group, argues more forcefully. “This special session is about human rights in sport, not sports regulation. That is why, after a thorough analysis, we have invited top-tier sports representatives who have a profile and are strong in terms of content,” he answered when asked. “The hearing is about as many facts as possible, not about as much pressure as possible.”
“You are part of the problem.”
Among those affected and observers, there is a lot of criticism of the position of the large sports lobby associations, which are often directed only towards events and profits. This means that they cannot be the first choice for a hearing in the Bundestag on human rights in sport. “They are part of the problem and hearing is about possible solutions for the future,” Brand says. “At the committee meeting this year, they took a very evasive position. In this regard, it only makes sense to look for an exchange of content with other leading sports organizations.” The brand refers to a meeting that Thomas Weckert, an internationally experienced sports official who was elected president of DUSB in December, joined from Beijing during the Winter Games.
On Wednesday, experts are due to have their opinions on the role of sport in major events in countries that frequently violate human rights. The focus should be on experiences during the Winter Games in Beijing and developments in Qatar, for example with a view to linking the World Cup with fatal accidents at stadium construction sites. DOSB believes it could have contributed to this.
However, he tried to calm the situation on Tuesday. “We welcome the fact that the Commission on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid dedicated itself to sport on Wednesday, as the new DOSB Presidium put human rights on its agenda in one of its first official business on March 18 and decided that the concept should be how a new value advisory board can help in the future to translate Values into Attitudes and Concrete Action “This advisory board should also provide advice and guidance on the important issue of human rights.” The topic should be on the agenda permanently with the aim of changing the award criteria in all areas: “We would have liked to present the position and plans of German sport in the committee. We must keep up with that at the next opportunity.”