ZEIT ONLINE : Mr. Schulze-Marmeling, with the relegation game Ingolstadt against Nuremberg this Saturday the first ghost game period in German professional football ends. What is your conclusion?
Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling : Good, because everything went smoothly. The basis was a considerable management of the DFL around Christian Seifert. Of course, I followed the heated debates in April and May. I found the indignation of many fans and critics to be exaggerated in some points. I can't blame football for wanting to play again. That was legitimate and helped many clubs, including their employees. I just didn't like some appearances by some managers from the Bundesliga. Hans-Joachim Watzke and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge acted as if they had more of a clue than politics. Also that the Bundesliga restarted with the picture- Staged newspaper, which also offered Corona deniers a stage and launched an anti-drosten campaign, reactivated old prejudices against football.
ZEIT ONLINE : In a current survey by FC PlayFair! 85 percent of the participants agree that football has lost its fascination without the fans. Isn't football worth nothing without fans?
Schulze-Marmeling : No. You can't do without us! That was the position of many fans. She is slightly presumptuous, but I understand her protest. Many fans have long felt disconnected and unwanted, think of the debate about commercialization and Dietmar Hopp. Now the feeling became physical truth. On the other hand, they are missing, I think the testimonies of Christian Seifert and others are honest. The fans are therefore the winners of the ghost games in a special way. With their initiatives in the Corona crisis, many ultra groups were also the social conscience of football. Without them he would have been pretty ignorant. Clubs should take an example from them. Soft issues such as social responsibility will become more important in the future, in business, in football, everywhere.
ZEIT ONLINE : There was a lot of discussion about the special role of football. However, his representatives can claim for him that it is a popular sport, from which one may derive privileges. What is a national sport?
Schulze-Marmeling : Football permeates all milieus like no other sport, and that in large parts of the world. He has completely different roots. In 19th century England, it was the sport for sons of merchants and academics. They wanted to stay among themselves, which is why they cultivated the amateur idea. Even in the mid-twenties, Bayern regretted that at the time it was one of the finer addresses that people from lower classes would now flock to the club that they would become a people's club. So you can read it in the commemorative publication for the 25th anniversary. But that could not be prevented, because football became a mass spectacle in the Weimar Republic.
ZEIT ONLINE : How did that come about?
Schulze-Marmeling : After the First World War, the eight-hour day came in Germany. Suddenly everyone had more free time. Many went to football, many played football. It is easily accessible, a sport for everyone. The last championship final before the war in May 1914 saw 12,000 people. The first one after that, in June 1920, when 1. FC Nürnberg defeated the Fürth game association, came 35,000. The membership of the DFB also exploded, although there was still the competing labor sports movement that the Nazis later smashed. In the Weimar period, many large stadiums were also built, for example in Cologne, Duisburg, Münster, Nuremberg, Dortmund or Gelsenkirchen.