Berlin - "Integration: how does professional football fulfil its social responsibility?" This question was at the forefront of discussions when representatives of the Bundesliga and the Bundesliga Foundation attended a parliamentary evening in Berlin on Wednesday.
'Sport can change the world'
More than 100 guests from politics and sport gathered in the Haus der Commerzbank at the German capital's Pariser Platz, among them federal minister of the interior Dr. Thomas de Maiziere, chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Volker Kauder and acting chairman of the sports committee and DFB (Deutscher Fußball Bund) treasurer Reinhard Grindel.
Aydan Özoguz, the government's commissioner for integration, acted as patron of the event. "Sport has the power to change the world," she said, echoing the famous quote from the late anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela. "And in no sport is that more so the case than in football."
Christian Seifert, chairman of the executive board of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and acting chairman of the Bundesliga Foundation board of trustees, emphasised the importance of integration and anti-racism in society and highlighted the work done by clubs, the DFL and the Bundesliga Foundation.
The issue of integration was examined from different perspectives, with minister Özoguz, league president and chairman of the advisory board Dr. Reinhard Rauball, publicist and foundation benefactor Prof. Michael Wolfsohn and Hertha Berlin player Änis Ben-Hatira all taking part in discussing the subject under the moderation of journalist Asli Sevindim.