Zur Eröffnung des Plenarprogramms des 1st Arab- German Sports Summit, der vom 4. bis 5. April 2019 in Berlin stattfand, hat Dagmar Freitag eine engagierte Rede vor Sportbusinessvertretern hauptsächlich aus dem arabischen und deutschen Raum gehalten. Der Hauptfokus der Rede der Vorsitzenden des Sportausschusses des Deutschen Bundestags lag dabei auf der Glaubwürdigkeit des Sports und der Wichtigkeit von good governance in Zeiten, in denen es immer wieder große Zweifel an der Integrität im Sport gibt. 

Hier finden Sie Dagmar Freitags Rede zum Nachlesen:

Excellencies, Distinguished guests,

Thank you for inviting me to be part of today’s programme of the 1st Arab-German Sports Summit.
This event is intended to be a “unique business, discussion and networking event particularly dedicated to the development of the Arab-German sports market.“

In preparation of this unique multi-lateral event I tried to identify areas of interest, that link the topics of this summit with my daily scope of work as a Member of Parliament and Chairwoman of the Sports Committee of the German Bundestag.

I am not involved in the sports market itself or in the closer hemisphere of sports business.
But: As I am involved in Sports Policy, I am part of the sports network.

You have to take care of the economic return on investment and your shareholders` interests and values.
My main interest in the field of sport politics is to preserve the credibility of sports or to ensure good governance.

As I am deeply convinced that we all should have a joint interest to protect the integrity of sports I would like to share some thoughts about social responsibility for everyone involved in sport.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This summit, of course, mainly focuses on the business opportunities and the sports market.
No doubt, there are numerous essays about the importance of sport business and sponsorship in sport.
The total worldwide sponsorship investments in sports in 2017 reached a stunning 62.8 Billion US$.
Just to make it clear: it’s not a donation, it’s not charity – it’s an investment.

The Arab World not only invests in sports events in their region, such as the FIFA World Cup, IAAF Championships, Formula 1, Special Olympics World Games and many more. Arab companies also invest in sports clubs abroad, such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and other investments around the globe.

On the one hand sport sponsorship is used to reach specific business goals.
On the other hand you want your company to be part of the story and image of those glorious heroes, who break records and win titles.

Ladies and Gentleman,

From 2001 to 2017 I was vice president of the German Athletics Association – I was responsible for marketing and sponsoring. I know about the nature of sponsorship.
A few decades ago, sponsorship was mostly about putting the company`s logo on sports assets.

Today, sponsorship engagements have to fulfill so much more: they are the opportunity to tell stories and offer something extremely valuable – real emotions.

But what if those emotions turn from positive to negative? What if sport is no longer about the unique stories of true athletes, of respect, fair play?
What if the image of sport changed from good to bad?
Besides numerous doping violations, we have witnessed far too many cases of bribery, unjust personal enrichment, fraud and corruption as well as sexual harassment within major national and international sports organizations in the recent past.

The defiance of written and unwritten rules and standards in sport is an attack on the integrity of sports. They often mention the words of “zero tolerance”, but the words remain just words if they are not followed by credible actions!

But, if there is a will, there is a way and I will nominate this case as the “best practice example for all intl. Federations”: I am talking about Sebastian Coe who shows as President of the scandal shaken IAAF how you can reform a Federation – cool-headed, altruistic and always with one main, fearless goal on your mind: to improve the sport for the sake of its athletes.

As mentioned before, your business world is quite different to the duties I have as a politician.
But at the point where the sports world, its integrity and values are threatened, that is when your company and we as politicians have to team up.

No doubt, first and foremost you feel responsible for the success of your investments. But- this is at least my firm belief - you also have to feel responsible to address misconducts and governance issues within the so called sports family.

Good Governance in sports primarily is the responsibility of the sports organizations themselves.
As much at it is my responsibility in the field of sport politics to set the legal framework, to address bad governance, the lack of sustainability of major international sports events and violations of human rights - you have the same responsibility and opportunity to address deficits in sport.

Raise your influential voices and use your power!

Protecting sports is a part of corporate social responsibility activities and I call upon everybody involved in the sports business market to address the challenging off-field issues.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to take this opportunity to illustrate in just a few words another important issue: the career after the career of top athletes.
At some point in life talented athletes need to take a decision whether to follow the uncertain path to become a potential top athlete or to drop-out.
Most of those athletes who decided to dedicate their lives, all their energy and time to their sport and are successful, those are supported in their pursuit of success by their Federation, media partners, sponsors etc.

But what about those who fail? What about those who drop-out due to unforeseen circumstances such as injuries? What happens, when the spotlight is turned off?

Only a minority of top athletes is lucky enough to make a fortune during their sports career. Just a handful of athletes can lay back and enjoy life.
The majority has to find a job and start a second career. That is the point when the players in the business should feel responsible to open doors and opportunities.

I am fully convinced that offering job opportunities for former athletes is a win-win-situation. As a company you would hire a motivated man or woman who has demonstrated persistence, dedication and goal-orientation during the sports career. Athletes are leaders – and their leadership abilities are undoubtedly of high value for any company.

Excellencies, Distinguished guests,

it was an honor for me to share my thoughts with you.
I wish this 1st Arab-German Sports Summit every success.