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Movement instead of armament (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

How many sports opportunities could have been created here? The former Neckermann headquarters in Frankfurt am Main

The former Neckermann mail order company in the east of Frankfurt am Main is around 250 meters long and over 60 meters wide. The area fell into disrepair for ten years, and now it is to be converted into a digital park. How many sports opportunities could have been created here? How many such ruins spoil German inner cities? In how many of these would lively »houses for physical activity« be made for the total of 100 billion euros that Chancellor Olaf Scholz intends to provide as a special fund for the Bundeswehr? What could be better for the population than inviting sports facilities and attractive, affordable sports offers everywhere for everyone? That would be a starting point for the political debate on the 2022 budget law, which has yet to be passed in the Bundestag.

After the first reading of the current budget draft, there seem to be majorities in favor of the 100 billion armament, against which – which is hardly noticed – around 600 prominent figures and politicians, including members of the traffic light coalition parties, immediately protested in an open letter with the note that the Military spending by the 30 NATO countries is already twenty times that of Russia. Accordingly, the signatories question the sense of a gigantic rearmament and were able to collect more than 10,000 signatures for this critical reading in the first few days. Its proponents counter that more peace and security should be guaranteed with the »special billions«. You would agree immediately if the sums would benefit internal peace.

It is better to finance paradisiacal conditions in amateur sport instead of additional billions for upgrading. For years there has not been enough for the renovation, modernization and new construction of sports facilities, there is now a lack of around 31 billion euros. Of course, given the limited capacities of architects, planners, in the construction industry and in the procurement of materials, it would be naïve to expect that this huge deficit could be remedied with a lot of money in no time at all. But the promise of politicians to invest billions in sporting infrastructure regularly, annually and in the long term, as the German Association of Cities and organized sport are calling for, would be a promising start and a signal from the government headquarters: We have understood, we understand the importance of the Sports.

A fraction of the 100 billion would be enough to get the “small sport” between Zugspitze and Schleswig on the Danish border on its feet. The approximately 27 million people officially organized in sports clubs and around eight million volunteers in sports, including their families, as well as the countless active people – whether running on forest paths, fishing on riverbanks, swimming in lakes or flying in paragliders – definitely deserve this appreciation.

To honor the largest citizens’ movement in the Federal Republic in this way would also be a strategic investment in the stability and future viability of a society that is increasingly crumbling and whose inner peace seems threatened more than ever. Sport stands for the social participation of each individual, has a health-preserving and integrating effect. Sport brings different age, professional and income groups closer together, which otherwise threaten to drift further apart, as the current struggle for affordable food and such gas, electricity and fuel bills just illustrates. Guaranteed, the billions would be in far better hands in a national “sports special fund” than in new weapon systems.

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