With the use of more than 50 million euros left over from state aid for professional clubs in need, the federal government wants to combat the loss of members, which is affecting many of the 90,000 sports clubs in Germany due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Michael Reinsch

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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"We want to achieve a new start in sport," said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is responsible for sport, after her visit to the sports committee in Berlin on Wednesday: "We are finding that after two years of the pandemic, sports clubs in particular are having a hard time finding memberships.

We want to support them and, as we have agreed with the federal states, be pioneers at federal level for a large program that we want to set up with DOSB, DFB and hopefully also with media partners.

As the state governments in Hamburg and Bavaria are already doing, potential club members should be encouraged to do sports in the club with vouchers.

DOSB demands movement summit

For the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), however, a financial injection alone is not sufficient.

The sports policy of the federal government should change fundamentally, not only with regard to the health consequences of the restrictions caused by the corona pandemic.

The pediatrician and chairwoman of the Children's Gymnastics Foundation, Kerstin Holze, calls for the DOSB, of which she is vice-president, before the sports committee that the federal government invite people to an exercise summit and that the federal chancellor should take over its patronage.

It is about sending a strong signal and creating a new awareness that promoting physical activity is a community task.

So far, the federal government has seen its responsibility in sport primarily in the promotion of top-level sport.

The Ministry of the Interior, which is responsible for this, provides around 300 million euros a year for this.

Responsibility for mass sport lies with the federal states.

In the person of Kerstin Holze, the DOSB called for the establishment of a central contact person for mass sport and suggested a department for promoting physical activity in the Federal Ministry of Health or a commissioner for sport development in the Federal Government.

The promotion of physical activity goes far beyond supporting clubs and associations.

"We need a national health target 'reduce lack of exercise'," said Ms. Holze, according to the speech;

the committee met behind closed doors.

Such a perspective creates the basis for a systematic implementation of physical activity promotion if it is supported by all relevant actors in health promotion and prevention.

In addition, the 90,000 sports clubs need to be recognized as independent living environments.

This is necessary to enable them, in accordance with the definition in the Prevention Act and the guidelines of the statutory health insurance companies, to apply for preventive measures on an equal footing and with leading responsibility and to cooperate with the health insurance companies.

Holze called for support for a nationwide training offensive in sports.

She was remarkably open in admitting that even before the pandemic, education and training in sport were often insufficient.

In addition, there has been a training backlog in the past two years.

Qualified trainers and trainers are a guarantee for good club offers;

these moving people to join sports clubs and stay there.

Even a return to the pre-pandemic status quo of sport and exercise would not be enough to make up for the deficits.

The resources that organized sport has are not sufficient to meet the growing challenges, including adequate care for those affected by long-Covid.

Even before the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, 42 percent of adults and around three quarters of children and young people in Germany were not moving enough.

According to a study with more than 48,000 adult participants, physically active people with an average fitness level have a significantly reduced risk of being treated in hospital or intensive care because of a Covid 19 infection or its consequences.

For the growing number of those affected by Long Covid, it is important to provide low-threshold sporting activities following their care in rehabilitation clinics and Long Covid outpatient clinics.

In addition to the expansion of rehabilitation sports, there is a need for offers with a low-threshold intensity.