Thomas Härtel, 68, is since 2018 President of the Landessportbund Berlin, in which about 2. 500 Associations united and round 672. 000 members are registered. We spoke to Härtel about the problems and hopes that sport in Berlin had in coronavirus times.
Mr. Härtel, on Tuesday the Senate canceled the Berlin Marathon scheduled for the end of September. Jürgen Lock from the organizer SCC Events was surprised. Was it you too?
But already. It makes me and us from the State Sports Association sad that this was decided. We had hoped that it might be possible to carry out certain measures, such as a severely restricted number of participants. It is a very bitter decision for the organizers. Many people had already registered, the cancellation is associated with enormous costs for the SCC. But we also realize that such a marathon is a big risk. Distance is hardly maintainable at this event. And infection protection is above everything else. But it is not just the Berlin marathon that is affected by the measures.
By 24. No sporting events may take place in front of spectators in Berlin on October.
The mention of such a late date surprised us very much from the LSB. This naturally affects the Berlin lighthouses of sport, not only the two Bundesliga soccer teams, but also the BR Volleys, the handball players from the Foxes or the basketball players from Alba Berlin. We would have been happy if the date for the sport had been kept open to spectators. But who knows, depending on the development, could be negotiated again.
Do you think that sport could start earlier in front of spectators?
As it was communicated, I assume that the decision is made. On the other hand, I still have a glimmer of hope that under certain circumstances there will still be a dynamic in the point. But I don’t want to be misunderstood here. We at sport are also aware that everything has to be done to contain the virus. That’s why we communicate to our members: Be patient, we now have to go through a dry spell.
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Especially club sport on an amateur basis is affected. The football players of the professional clubs are already training under conditions, for amateurs this is not allowed.
That’s true, but Tuesday’s Senate resolutions were a step in the right direction. Uncovered sports facilities, as outdoor sports facilities, can now be opened again for individual athletes subject to conditions. And from May 4th, we see the Senate Ordinance, small groups up to 20 people train again following certain measures. This is a valuable signal to the many athletes in this city.
When will football games in amateur sports be expected again in this city?
It depends on the further development of the pandemic . The fact is that no competitive games in team sports are planned until further notice. Nevertheless, there is also hope for footballers, for example, that a model training program launched by the Berlin Football Association may soon apply to amateur footballers. In small groups, training with adherence to distance regulations is possible again. This is a start.
Club sport is characterized by encounter and interaction. Will normal club sport life be possible again?
I firmly believe that. Together with the sports physician Bernd Wolfarth from the Charité, we have developed a catalog of criteria on how sports can be carried out in compliance with the hygiene and distance rules. We have extensively instructed many of our trainers, trainers and trainers. We are prepared for sports under the new conditions.
The theory is one thing, practice is another, as you experience with every purchase in the supermarket.
Right, but the sport has in a big advantage in this regard: he lives from compliance with his rules. That’s why I believe that the measures in sport can be implemented particularly well.
With what problems do they have 2500 Berlin sports clubs to fight?
This is very different. Some clubs come through the crisis well because they are financed by membership fees and have little expenditure. But others, especially those who offer health and rehabilitation courses, have suffered enormous losses. These are funds that flow through the medical prescriptions on the part of the health insurance companies. It all falls away. Disabled sports are particularly hard hit by the restrictions in club sports, which is very painful. And then there are the many clubs and associations that cover a large part of their costs through events. I spontaneously remember the dance event “Blue Ribbon of the Spree”, which, like so many other things, has already fallen into the water this year.
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How can the clubs be helped?
First of all, we appeal to the solidarity of the members by asking them to continue paying the monthly fees, even if we cannot carry out certain offers.
So far the members are very solidary. But it is also clear that people will not be willing to pay money forever, especially for special courses that cannot be carried out. The pressure on the clubs increases every day. That is why we are in negotiations with the Senate on a solidarity fund for sport.
How high should it be?
We currently estimate six million euros for the first three months of the crisis. And I am convinced that we are having constructive talks with the Senate, as we did during the refugee crisis, when we had high failures due to the occupancy of the sports halls. In addition, we will continue to record the problems of our clubs and associations and work out concepts for their solution together.
Do you think that club sport will ever be the same as before the coronavirus pandemic?
I firmly believe that. Club sport can even emerge stronger from the crisis because everyone realizes just how important it is to live together.
The interview was conducted Martin Einsiedler