Borussia Dortmund cooperates with arms company – a fatal signal

Borussia Dortmund cooperates with arms company – a fatal signal

Borussia Dortmund wants to be sponsored by an arms company in the future. The club is thereby sending a signal that is in sharp contradiction to the values ​​of football.

It was less than three months ago that the Bremen Football Association canceled all games for a weekend. They wanted to send a signal against the increasing violence in amateur football, which had reached a “new, sad peak,” they said. The general cancellation caused a stir nationwide. It sparked a debate about the brutalization of football, which aims to be a sport free of violence and discrimination – and is increasingly rarely able to achieve this on amateur pitches. Despite social work, anti-aggression training and a lot of good will.

This debate has certainly not escaped the attention of those in charge of the Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund, as the club sees itself as particularly down-to-earth, a club of hard workers and hard-working people. But now, just a few days before the Champions League final against Real Madrid, it has become public that BVB intends to be sponsored by Rheinmetall in the future. The arms company will pay a single-digit million amount per year, according to several media reports.

Weapons and football – an unfortunate combination

That is surprisingly little money considering the damage that the partnership with the weapons manufacturer will cause to BVB. It damages its credibility and contradicts much of what professional clubs like to write in their so-called mission statement. Namely, that they are aware of their social responsibility, that football stands for peaceful, rule-based competition and not for the right of the strongest.

The Rheinmetall deal is all the more disturbing now. It sends the wrong signal at a time when football is struggling with a problem of violence among amateurs and the world beyond the pitch is more conflict-ridden than it has been for decades. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the war between Israel and Gaza, anti-Semitic attacks in Germany – this context must be taken into account when talking about the role and responsibility of sport today.

Now, in this time of crisis, football should really be the hour of its turn. It should now use its binding power and give fans a home, at least an ideal one. People go to the stadium because values ​​such as cohesion and solidarity are celebrated there. Football fans are mercilessly romantic and they are sensitive. Bringing an arms company into the pool of sponsors and having them advertise on the banners shows a lack of sensitivity. Especially for a club like Borussia Dortmund, which claims the slogan “True Love” for itself.

The deal will plunge Borussia Dortmund into an identity crisis

Rheinmetall is the wrong kind of love. This is not about promoting naive pacifism and saying that weapons are to be condemned per se. No, they are needed more than ever so that a country like Ukraine, for example, can defend itself against the Russian aggressor.

Conversely, this does not mean that it is okay to try to make weapons socially acceptable. Simply flashing a Rheinmetall logo between lemonade and car advertisements in the stadium is not acceptable. That is crossing the line.

The Rheinmetall deal – this prediction is a bold one – will plunge Borussia Dortmund into a massive identity crisis. Resistance is already forming, and the first online petitions to prevent the new sponsor are already circulating on the internet. A wave of anger and indignation is currently building.

To put it militaristically: BVB will need a good defensive strategy.

Source: Stern

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