German sport is threatened with a significant cut in federal funds. Scientists and athletes have now warned of the possible consequences.
With a broad alliance of athletes, scientists and politicians, the institutes FES and IAT have positioned themselves against planned cuts in the millions in German top-class sport.
Led by the multiple Olympic champions Francesco Friedrich and Ronald Rauhe, the headquarters of the Institute for Research and Development of Sports Equipment (FES) in Berlin not only warned of a loss of competitiveness for German athletes at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The abolition of funding for top-class sport also has dramatic consequences for society as a whole.
“Our country, our young people need role models. They are athletes, that’s what society orientates itself on,” said Martin Engelhardt, chairman of the IAT/FES association. As a doctor, he experiences what it means to reduce physical activity – especially because of the costs incurred in healthcare.
Deletions of ten percent planned
In the 2024 federal budget of Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), cuts of ten percent from around 303 to around 276 million euros are planned for top-class sport. For the sports institutes FES and IAT (Institute for Applied Training Science), which support athletes with technical knowledge such as training optimization or equipment development, 19 percent of the previous budget of four million euros is to be cut.
It was said that know-how, especially in the technically complicated disciplines with sports equipment, was in danger of being lost. “If we don’t have the finances and opportunities, it will be difficult,” warned four-time Olympic bobsleigh champion Friedrich. Without the expertise of the FES he would not have won four gold medals. “It makes me angry that sport doesn’t have the same status in society,” said the canoe Olympic champion Rauhe.
Ulrich gives hope
The chairman of the Bundestag sports committee, Frank Ullrich, gave hope for a change in plans. “I will also work very hard with our householders to ensure that we avoid these cuts,” promised the SPD politician and reported on talks that had already been held. The social value of sport must be brought back into focus, demanded the former world-class biathlete Ullrich.