Cologne – The current plight of refugees has dominated headlines the world over recently. In Germany, countless people have become involved in projects to help them and the Bundesliga is playing its part too. The league’s clubs are all committed to offering support, and are doing so in diverse ways. Many of them have launched initiatives of their own in order to aid the refugees arriving in their city.
Charity on an international level
Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04, like the other 78 clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League this season, have pledged one Euro from every ticket sold for their first home fixtures in the group stage this season to be destined for refugee aid projects. The idea was launched by FC Porto, who have already thanked die Werkself for publicly declaring their participation.
Toys a mutual language
Praise to Schalke once again for getting their under-9 players to create boxes of toys for refugee children, After their #StandUp initiative, this is further evidence of the Royal Blues' tireless and highly commendable work in aiding refugees.
'Royal Blue teamwork - Schalke's under-9s making 'mate boxes' together with Gerald Asamoah'
Joining friendly forces
FC St Pauli and Borussia Dortmund staged a friendly on Tuesday, 8 September at the Millerntor with 26,000 fans, including approximately 1,000 refugees, turning up. What may have been an opportunity for the coaches of both clubs to fine-tune their teams for their upcoming league fixtures was more of an occasion to say 'welcome' to the refugees arriving in the country.
This Tweet from Dortmund sums up the spirit of the occasion.
Training with Fortuna
Bundesliga 2 side Fortuna Düsseldorf are offering refugees a unique opportunity to train at the club's Flinger Broich youth academy. 10 September is the date when the gates will be opened up as part of the Westphalian state capital's 'STAY!' project, which for the third time already will be enabling refugees who have arrived in the city to take part in a weekly training session.
The training sessions will be led by some of the club's youth academy coaches, while Fortuna would like to give those seeking asylum in Düsseldorf a change to their usual day-to-day life in one of the welcome centres.
Further training camps
For example, FC Bayern München have set their sights on helping refugee children. In conjunction with the Munich City Council, training camps will be organised in which the children will play sports at regular intervals as well as receiving meals, German lessons and football equipment.
“We at FC Bayern consider it our socio-political responsibility to help displaced and needy children, women and men, supporting and assisting them in Germany,” club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bayern’s official website.
Leading by example
The reigning Bundesliga champions will play their next home game on 12 September, and prior to kick-off the players will be accompanied on to the pitch by refugee children. The idea behind the gesture is to make a clear statement regarding the integration of refugees.
Spain international Javi Martinez has also been personally involved in helping the city’s displaced persons. Working alongside the Munich police force, the 27-year-old aided new arrivals at Munich’s main train station.
The tweet below from the Munich police reads: “There has been no decline in the number of Munich citizens helping refugees. Our thanks also go to Javi Martinez from FC Bayern.”
This next tweet, from Martinez himself on Tuesday, 8 September, reads: "Today I'm continuing with #RefugeesWelcome. We're all participating in this game!"
1. FSV Mainz 05 have likewise taken up the cause. At their last home game on Matchday 3 the 05ers invited 200 refugees to the Coface Arena to watch their 3-0 victory over Hannover 96. At their next home fixture on 18 September, there will be approximately 400 refugees in the stands.
As part of the project “Arrived in Dortmund”, Borussia Dortmund have also handed out tickets to their home matches. Over 200 refugees watched on at the Signal Iduna Park as BVB defeated Odds BK in the UEFA Europa League play-offs, while last season Borussia Mönchengladbach even took refugees on away games with them.
'Donate a night'
Hamburger SV goalkeeper Rene Adler and FC St. Pauli defender Lasse Sobiech have been raising awareness for a project run by the non-profit organisation “More than Shelters”. As part of a campaign called “Donate a night”, the two players went to a hotel in Hamburg where a modular tent had been set up on a terrace in order to provide humanitarian aid to refugees. By giving a voluntary donation people can sleep in the tent instead of a hotel room, with all proceeds going towards helping the organisation’s projects, and thus helping improve the refugees’ lives.
St. Pauli played a friendly against Dortmund on Tuesday 8 September in a match under the slogan “Refugees Welcome”. The Hamburg-based club invited approximately 1,000 of the city’s refugees to the game, as well as the dedicated volunteers who have been helping them. The child mascots accompanying the players on to the pitch were also refugees. Dortmund won the match 2-1. Click here for more.
FC Schalke 04 have even made a video outlining the club’s stance on the matter. Watch the video and read more about the Royal Blues’ #standup campaign here.
The Foals have announced that they will donate €1 per ticket sold of their first UEFA Champions League home match this season. Gladbach face Manchester City at Borussia Park on 30 September and with a capacity crowd expected, the club are anticipating raising €46,000 to help refugees.
Martinez's FC Bayern colleague Mario Götze has also taken to Twitter to show his support. The 23-year-old, who scored for Germany in their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying victory over Poland on Friday, retweeted actress Emma Watson's post from 8 September: