"For us, it was especially important to be able to provide assistance as simply and unbureaucratically as possible," explained Christian Frommert, the director of communications at TSG Hoffenheim. Applications for funding can now be submitted in three quick steps. Once a month, an independent committee decides how the funds shall be allocated based on a thorough examination and a clear list of criteria. The main focus is on social aspects, regionality and the applicant's compatibility with TSG Hoffenheim's values, which include support for young people, education, fairness, health and sustainability.
In the first tranche, a six-figure sum was paid out to 22 clubs to cover the financial losses resulting from the corona crisis. Most of the clubs have had to cancel planned celebrations or anniversary parties in recent months. This meant they lost important income that could have otherwise been used to finance club life, investments in infrastructure or youth work. Markus Stumpf, a board member at SG Waibstadt, and Marcel Genc, the first chairman at TSV Kürnbach, were not the only ones rendered "speechless and enthusiastic". Rolf Remmele, a member of the board of directors at SC 1921 Siegelsbach, thanked TSG on behalf of many club officials, saying: "We're all very excited about the generous donation. A super initiative by TSG. Many thanks to everyone involved. This allows us to feel much calmer about the future." For Karin Stapf, the managing director at FV Nußloch, it is "absolutely great to find someone who helps not only with words but also with actions in this difficult time for everyone".
"TSG is involved in so many social projects. With "TSG hilft", there is now an association especially for the people, the clubs and their problems in the region," explained Christian Laier, the chairman of "TSG hilft". "We're pleased to be able to make an important contribution through the work of "TSG hilft" and to support the unique club culture in this country," continued Frommert, adding: "This initiative is entirely in line with our future strategy 'TSG is movement', which sees our own development and that of society as being closely connected."
The relief fund is derived from the salary waivers of TSG Hoffenheim's Bundesliga players, the coaching and support staff, and the management at the club. Furthermore, donations have been received from partners, customers, fans, the TSG players, the youth teams as well as individual persons such as TSG shareholder Dietmar Hopp – either by direct transfer to the account of "TSG hilft e.V." or by waiving the reimbursement of tickets paid in advance. This option, along with others, will soon be offered to season ticket holders as part of the refund process.
The relief work could also lead to some quite extraordinary sporting clashes in the post-corona era. Not only has Boris Schmitt, chairman of the board at Turnverein 1865 Waibstadt, labelled the "close connection between professional sport and voluntary work" to be "a strong signal that strengthens solidarity in our region and gives us as a club greater flexibility to set up new avenues and offers in the current situation". He has also extended an invitation "to be inspired by the diversity of our club – perhaps even in a one-off match against our fistball Bundesliga team". Oliver Baumann and the goalkeeping contingent at TSG could have a real challenge on their hands.