Recent revelations and events in Germany underline the need to speak about a renewal of Germany.
Thinking of Germany at night
Just puts all thought of sleep to flight
These lines were written by Heinrich Heine in a poem that was published in 1844. It currently describes my state of mind about a few issues.
The Good Sportsmen
For a long time it has been a stated policy of West Germany that the use of performance enhancing substances is not allowed. A study published a few years ago stated the opposite: doping was a practice that was preached by the sports governing bodies such as the DSB and the NOK. Doping does back to 1954 when the West German were alleged to have taken amphetamines. None other that Ferenc Puskas said so. As a result he became a persona non grata in West Germany.
German football is held in high regard, again. However, still could be a more appropriate word. The current crisis engulfing the DFB highlights what many thought would be the case: that FIFA and DFB are entangled in muddy business. The fact that the German FA might have bought the World Cup 2006 is a huge accusation but at a closer look should not surprise many. Since the 1950s Adidas and the DFB have a fruitful partnership with benefits for both sides. The DFB has chosen Adidas to be their exclusive apparel choice and Adidas has thus a very comfortable position in one of the biggest markets globally. However, this alliance brought with it the ‘System Adidas’ put in place by Horst Dasler, the son of the founder of Adidas, Adi Dasler. It means nothing else but corruption. And this is exactly what Jens Weinreich et.al allege and for which they have worked and researched for years, if not decades. The damage to the image of German football is immense if the allegations are true. At the current state of affairs, it looks very likely. That means that Franz Beckenbauer will be de-throned from his role as ‘Der Kaiser’ and that the DFB has to rinse out this cancerous malaise of corruption. The question is, if this is repairable at all and if football in this state is repairable. In the 1980s English football went through its darkest days. The grounds were decaying and violence was marring the game. The French sports daily L’Equipe stated after Heysel:
If this is football, let it die
The same has to be said about the state of FIFA; and the DFB.
Lies and Deceit
You could argue in that manner for other areas of Germany, too. Car manufacturing is one. The Volkswagen scandal puts to light what holds this country back: a strong lobbyist group keeps bugging the government in order to get more cars with combustion engines built and sold. At the same time, alternative engines are not subsidized in the same way. Volkswagen have artificially become such a huge company built on lies and deceit. Moreover, governments and regulators were happy to roll over after receiving illegal payments. The German government knew about it as did the EU.
For decades a shiny image of a clean and righteous Germany has been constructed and upheld. This image is about to crumble and there will be damage. Unfortunately, those held responsible won’t be those in charge nor those who knew what was going on. In some cases, this no longer possible. The DFB and Volkswagen are popular brands and understandably the disappointment is huge. Though after the shock over the revelations has settled a thorough investigation must begin to which has to go to the core of the things and those responsible and in the know should be sentenced accordingly. Knowing how things work, hopes are low and for the time being thoughts at night will remain present.