"Every person counts – whatever pitch they're on!"

27 January 2022 will mark the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp. On the annual ''Day of Remembrance in German Football'' – to be held over Matchdays 20 and 21 – the German Football League (DFL) and the clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will commemorate the victims of National Socialism. The day of remembrance was established in 2004 by the ''!Niewieder'' (never again) initiative, which takes its name from the message passed on by the survivors of the Dachau concentration camp.

This year, particular thought will be given to all those who were persecuted and murdered by the National Socialists because of their physical, mental or psychological disabilities. In the eyes of the National Socialists, they were deemed to be "unworthy of life". Sick and disabled people were taken from psychiatric hospitals, homes and their own families, before being transported to "killing facilities". Many tens of thousands were murdered, including more than 10,000 children.

Even today, there are still some reservations about people with mental or physical disabilities, who, among other things, are disadvantaged in some areas of the labour market and are more often affected by sexual violence than the average for the population. Many people with chronic and mental illnesses are reluctant to talk about this with anyone outside of their closest circle of friends and family members, as they are too scared that if they are forced to rely on others for help, they will not (or no longer) be taken seriously, and will be stigmatised and marginalised.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which entered into force in 2008, has one guiding principle: people with disabilities should not have to adapt – instead, our society has a duty to create conditions that allow everyone to be involved.

Football moves people and brings them together

For many years, fan initiatives, clubs, associations and their foundations have been committed to implementing equal opportunities in society in a variety of ways. It is not only on match days that fan clubs operate as a community based on an equal footing – and their members with disabilities are of course very much a part of it. They also have a nationwide organisation in the form of the Federal Disabled Fan Working Group (BBAG). There are also several concepts and initiatives that promote accessibility in the stadium and on the pitch. For example, Kickin! – a Germany-wide consultancy for inclusion – has been working since 2017 to promote diversity and the participation of all people in football, regardless of their physical and mental abilities, but also of their age, gender and sexual orientation, social or ethnic origin and religion.

Football aims to set a good example for an inclusive society and to clearly say "no" to any form of exclusion. So together, we would like to draw your attention to this once again and promote the mission statement of the initiative: "Never again!".

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