DOSB President Thomas Weikert encourages the general meeting to apply for the Olympics and does not shy away from criticizing the federal government. Minister Nancy Faeser left many disappointed after her speech.
At the end of a long day, Thomas Weikert was able to score another goal – on the goal wall of the ZDF “Sportstudio”. The invitation of the President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation had important reasons.
In nearby Frankfurt, the DOSB general meeting created a spirit of optimism with fundamental resolutions for an Olympic bid and the reform of top-class sport. Critical words regarding Berlin politics were not spared, especially since Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser left many unanswered questions.
With a passionate speech, the 62-year-old Weikert promoted future projects and generally called for more appreciation for sport. “We want top successes? So we have to create top conditions. This requires more money, this requires more reliability,” said the lawyer from Limburg. The federal government is expected to be a reliable partner who keeps promises when implementing the Olympic bid and reform. Both projects are currently affected by the budget freeze.
The final decision will probably only be made in a year
Minister Faeser did not hear this criticism herself because it only arrived after Weikert’s speech due to the winter weather. “The federal government wants a strong and credible application and we will support the DOSB in this,” said the SPD politician. We want to continue on the path we have chosen with the umbrella organization, the participating states and the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and the Rhine-Ruhr region. The federal government wants to “give shape to a German application” and use the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the country and sport.
The fact that the federal government has not long since signed the official memorandum of understanding like the four cities and a region was heavily criticized. “The federal government should lead the way and take the flag in its hand,” warned Christoph Niessen, chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalia State Sports Association. Regardless of this dispute, Weikert made it clear: The DOSB wants to be the tip of the spear. “We are tackling the Olympics and Paralympics in Germany. We are not backing down,” he emphasized. By approving the “Frankfurt Declaration,” the DOSB was given the mandate to develop an Olympic concept. On this basis, the suitable cities will be selected in the summer and the candidacy for the 2036 or 2040 Summer Games will be decided in December 2024.
The federal government recently reduced funding
A new survey provided tailwind, according to which a majority of German citizens are in favor of an application. 58 percent of those surveyed by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency are fundamentally in favor of another attempt.
The federal government also has great hope for the reform to control and promote top-class sport. “We want to bring German sport back to the top internationally. We want to bring more medals back to Germany,” explained Faeser. She also failed to mention that only 200,000 instead of 600,000 euros were approved for the expansion of the sports agency, the centerpiece of the reform, for 2024 and that there is a struggle for influence in the agency committees.
DOSB justifies vote for Russians and Belarusians to start
On another issue, however, the DOSB came under pressure to justify itself. Shortly after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, he was in favor of a strict exclusion of the country from competitions in world sports – including the Olympic Games. Now the DOSB has changed course and is advocating a start in Paris by Russians and Belarusians in Paris.
Is this due to the planned Olympic bid? “No, that’s not it,” contradicted DOSB board chairman Torsten Burmester. They had to acknowledge that majorities were changing and did not want to go into “isolationism”.
“If Germany were the only country to block Russians and Belarusians from competing under a neutral flag, there would be no international sporting events in our country,” emphasized Weikert, referring to a warning from the International Olympic Committee and therefore demanded: “Don’t overstep your bounds our concerns, accepts the autonomy of sport.”
Interior Minister Faeser once announced that she would not issue visas to Russian athletes. Does this still apply? “For me, the Ukrainian athletes are in the foreground and it must always be ensured that they enjoy full protection,” was her vague answer.
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