KJust before Joshua Kimmich had a debacle with FC Bayern in the DFB Cup in Mönchengladbach, he was in Frankfurt. Not personally, of course, but the national player is currently a big topic, not only where he plays football. At prime time at 8 p.m. on Wednesday evening, there should be a debate about the socio-political role of football in Frankfurt. The Kuratorium Kulturelles Frankfurt had invited an illustrious group to the Haus am Dom: Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Franco-German journalist and former member of the European Parliament, Axel Hellmann, CEO of Eintracht Frankfurt, and Katja Kraus, former goalkeeper and football official.
The background to the discussion was the renovation of the administration building and the academy of the German Football Association (DFB) on the former horse racing track, for which the citizens of Frankfurt had voted in a decision. Michael Horeni, FAZ sports editor, was the moderator on the podium and led three very different personalities through the evening.
Horeni opened – unsurprisingly – with the currently most discussed topic in German football: The Kimmich case and the question of the corona vaccination. Cohn-Bendit took a clear position, showing indignation. Kimmich’s statement that he personally still has a few concerns about the lack of long-term studies is “stupid” for him. Someone who obeys all the rules, as Kimmich claims, cannot stand in a small group with his teammates hugging them ten minutes before this statement because a goal has been scored. It is true that this is “his right”, but by doing so he is disregarding the rules.
“The best protection is vaccination”
Cohn-Bendit sees the approach of the basketball team Brooklyn Nets in the NBA as correct, which does not allow the player Kyrvie Irving, who still refuses to be vaccinated, to play. “I think that’s the debate,” he said. “We cannot ask the teachers to be vaccinated and then not do this with the footballers, as with the youth, where you get close to each other. And there is the best protection in times of Corona – and the only one – the vaccination. ”He would still find it better if the DFB introduced compulsory vaccination for players – from the youth to the professional teams – that would be a clear statement and an “important thing”.
Hellmann was of a similar opinion, who found that Kimmich had done himself a disservice and made himself the ambassador of a false camp through his unfortunate testimony. He would now be associated with people with whom he “probably does not want to be associated”. For legal reasons, one could not enforce the obligation to vaccinate players, but one had to work on expanding people’s horizons of understanding.
The only woman around, Katja Kraus, was amazed at the fact that the topic was the lead of the day’s topics. “How would the subject be discussed if it were a player who didn’t have that celebrity status”? Someone who might be viewed more critically by the public – they are more interested in that. It is also a solidarity issue for them, in this case Kimmich would have missed the chance to decide in the interests of the community over “their own doubts”.
In the further course of the discussion, the question of the candidacy for the DFB presidency was in focus – here there was a unanimous vote in favor of mixed-gender dual leadership – as well as the influence and relationship of the interaction between the DFB and unity on urban society in Frankfurt. Women’s football, its prospects for the future, as well as the alienation of fans, the so-called “basis” of the professional football business, which has progressed further through Corona, were also discussed.
There was a clear consensus regarding the basic work of the DFB, which the three discussants found to be at least inadequate. Cohn-Bendit even extended the arc from football: “We have to spell out social values from the Champions League to youth class D – and I don’t see much there at the moment – and if we can’t do that in sport, then we’ll do it in society also not create ”.