Like millions of his compatriots, Olaf Scholz is familiar with the subject at best, but that doesn’t prevent him from taking a stance on technical football issues. Which in his case, as Federal Chancellor, gives the statements a special meaning. This happened during the European Women’s Championship in England, in which the German players fought for the title until the end, only had to admit defeat in the final 2-1 to the selection of the tournament hosts and, moreover, won back old friends with their performances as a tireless team and could take new ones for themselves.
According to his own statements, one of them is Scholz, who was one of the guests of honor among the 89,000 spectators in the final in Wembley and visited the new headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) on Tuesday to meet with the association’s management to exchange ideas.
“My point of view is known”
Most recently, both sides had talked about each other, now a one-hour dialogue followed on campus, which Scholz described as a “good starting point” for further meetings; A continuation was already agreed for September in the Chancellery in Berlin. The Chancellor said he was “very grateful” that during the talks with DFB President Bernd Neuendorf, Vice President Celia Sasic and Director Oliver Bierhoff, he was signaled that he was willing to consider fairer remuneration for the women’s national team.
It’s about the question: How can we get more girls interested in football? And the bonuses play a role here,” said the SPD politician: “My point of view is known. From my point of view, this is something political and different from salary negotiations. It makes sense to discuss equal bonuses.” For a European Championship triumph, the women would have received 60,000 euros per player from the DFB, the men would have received 400,000 euros per person last year.
In July, when the DFB selection delighted the fans in the arenas on the British Isles as well as the spectators at home in front of the screens with their commitment, the Chancellor got involved in the debate about “equal pay” and demanded equal payment from the DFB . Half of the 16 nations participating in the European Championship committed themselves in advance not to make any more differences in the premiums between the sexes, regardless of the widely differing marketing revenues – Germany was not one of them. “It’s 2022. Women and men should be paid equally. That also applies to sport, especially for national teams,” Scholz had tweeted before the start of the preliminary round game against Spain, whereupon it didn’t take long for Bierhoff to counterattack: “I’m a bit surprised by the statement, I’m loading but feel free to ask him and explain the numbers to him a little better.”
Said and done. But Scholz’s request was not met by the DFB on Tuesday. DFB President Neuendorf spoke above all of “the willingness” to initiate an internal debate as to whether things should go differently in the future: “I am at least willing to talk to the representatives of the senior national teams in our committees about whether our over The bonus system that has grown over decades is still up to date and can also be adjusted if necessary.”
However, it must also be “taken note of”, said Neuendorf, “that despite having the same activity, the markets are still very different”. In principle, he showed understanding for the Chancellor’s reasoning, which in opinion polls coincides with a majority of football fans. Neuendorf said he could gain a lot from the “approach that the same competition must have the same value” – the power of his office should actually be able to make a difference within the DFB.
Scholz thanked the women’s national team for the “enthusiasm” it had triggered in Germany in the past few weeks. When they performed, people “got excited”. He too was “deeply touched” by what the players showed in the six games and how they stood up for each other. Germany can be proud of the deeds of the team of national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. The performance will “hopefully have a long-lasting effect,” added Scholz, emphasizing that the team’s exemplary commitment was significant beyond the football stadium: “Something like that keeps society together.”