Sustainability becomes a licensing requirement

The Bundesliga and the Bundesliga 2 are becoming the first major professional football leagues to include mandatory sustainability criteria in their licensing regulations. The clubs passed a resolution to this effect at the DFL general meeting today, Tuesday.

The implementation of the process is planned in several stages:

  • At today's general meeting, the clubs decided to anchor a clear commitment to sustainability in the preamble of the DFL e.V. statutes. The DFL e.V. is the association of 36 professional clubs. In future, the preamble will state, among other things: "The main guideline for the actions of the DFL e.V. is sustainability in all its dimensions - ecological, economic and social. This guideline will be implemented actively, verifiably and transparently with concrete measures. The DFL e.V. and its clubs and corporations contribute to anchoring the awareness for sustainable action within broad sections of the population".
  • In addition, the clubs have decided that sustainability criteria will be anchored in the licensing regulations. Among other things, minimum criteria are planned, as well as extended criteria to be fulfilled on a pro rata basis. The licensing regulations state: "In an effort to anchor sustainability progressively within the DFL e.V. and at the same time to present an implementable framework for action and development for members, the sustainability criteria are categorised, evaluated annually and further developed in phases.''
  • The concrete criteria are currently being developed based on the three dimensions of sustainability and will be specified and finalised jointly with the clubs in the coming period. The basis for this is, among other things, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations as well as assessments by external experts. Added to this are findings from intensive consultations within the sustainability working group set up by the DFL executive committee as well as with numerous clubs and in the club working group on responsibility. It is planned that the criteria will be adopted by the DFL general meeting in the coming months. When developing the criteria, it will be taken into account that clubs, some of which already implement comprehensive activities individually, can continue to focus on their respective strategic priorities in future.
  • Initially, a pilot phase is planned for the coming 2022/23 season, in which the clubs will receive an initial classification in relation to the mandatory criteria. This step will provide an overview of the respective status quo as well as potential improvements and allow for a transitional period in which any necessary further developments can be implemented. Such a far-reaching process with an impact on many aspects of the core business cannot be completed overnight and must take into account the different economic and structural conditions, ranging from Champions League participants to promoted teams from the 3. Liga. The DFL will therefore coordinate closely with the clubs during the pilot phase and beyond.
  • The first licensing-relevant auditing of clubs with regard to the sustainability criteria in the licensing procedure is envisaged for the 2023/24 season. Then, corresponding conditions and sanctions will also be possible in the event of non-compliance with minimum criteria or a corresponding proportion of the extended criteria.

A "fundamental commitment to sustainability in German professional football" was also one of the recommendations for action in the summary report of the taskforce on the future of professional football, which was published in February. In the taskforce, 37 experts from the fields of sport, society, science, politics and business had engaged in interdisciplinary discussions on important topics and issues concerning the future of professional football.

The future preamble of the statutes of the DFL e.V.

The DFL e.V. is the association of the licensed clubs and corporations of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 football leagues, which belonged directly to the Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. (DFB) as extraordinary members until 28 April 2001.

The task of the DFL e.V. is to operate the club facilities of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 which have been exclusively ceded to it for use by the DFB and to determine the German champions for the DFB as well as participants in international competitions.

The DFL e.V. actively participates in the development, support and promotion of the entire sport of football in the Federal Republic of Germany and will contribute to the financing of the DFB through levies from its licensed match operations.

The DFL e.V. is committed to sustainably supporting and promoting the development of talented young players, in particular through high-quality training in the performance centres of its members. It serves the formation and promotion of the German national football team and other selection teams under the responsibility of the DFB through the release of players requested from its members and makes a sustainable contribution to the sporting success of these teams in particular by training the players provided by the clubs and corporations.

The DFL e.V. is aware of the high social and socio-political importance of football. Together with its clubs and corporations, the DFL e.V. stands up for values such as respect, tolerance, solidarity, fair play and international understanding and opposes any form of discrimination. The DFL e.V. is committed to ensuring that the sport of football is open to women and men alike. The DFL e.V. fulfils its social responsibility through a wide range of activities.

This applies in particular to the support of youth football, amateur football, recreational and popular sport and the promotion of voluntary work. The DFL Foundation, as a foundation of DFL e.V. and DFL GmbH, also initiates and supports charitable projects focused on children and young people.

The main guideline for the actions of DFL e.V. is sustainability in all its dimensions - ecological, economic and social. This guideline is implemented actively, verifiably and transparently with concrete measures. The DFL e.V. and its clubs and corporations contribute to anchoring the awareness for sustainable action within broad sections of the population.

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