The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the World Jewish Congress and the Central Council of Jews in Germany will hold an event next week on combating antisemitism. The all-day conference, “Antisemitism and Professional Football: Challenges, Opportunities, Network” (Antisemitismus und Profifußball: Herausforderungen, Chancen, Netzwerk), will take place Wednesday, March 30, at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, home to Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. 


Representatives from clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, Jewish organizations and communities, and other experts will take part. 

The following people will speak: Mahmut Özdemir (Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community), Hans-Joachim Watzke (Chairman of the Management Board of Borussia Dortmund, Chairman of the DFL Supervisory Board), Dr. Josef Schuster (President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany), Dr. Maram Stern (Executive Vice President of the WJC) and Dr. Felix Klein (Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism). Additional talks and workshops will follow. 

Raising awareness of antisemitism and understanding how it manifests have become increasingly important, especially as antisemitism has surged in Germany. By examining such issues comprehensively and examining proven practices in anti-discrimination work, football clubs and associations can tailor their projects even more effectively. While antisemitism can present itself in sports, football clubs are popular with diverse sectors of society and can make a positive impact in the fight against hate. This is the starting point for the DFL, the World Jewish Congress and the Central Council of Jews in Germany at the conference in Dortmund. 

Football clubs, including members of the DFL, already are engaged with various Holocaust remembrance projects and other educational efforts. Last year, the DFL Members Assembly, the 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, unanimously decided to adopt the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), opposing antisemitism in all its forms. A commonly accepted understanding of antisemitism is needed to fight it effectively.

Dr. Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: “Unfortunately, antisemitism is not uncommon in football stadiums. Many clubs have now recognized this and have launched good initiatives. The intention behind this conference is to build on them and to combine the efforts made so far in order to tackle hatred of Jews together for the long term.”

Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Maram Stern, said: “Football leagues, which have fans from all walks of life, are in a unique position to initiate discussions that benefit society as a whole. We would like to thank our friends at DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and Borussia Dortmund for strengthening our campaign to tackle antisemitism both in Germany and around the world.”

Donata Hopfen, Speaker of the DFL Executive Committee and DFL CEO, commented: “Driven by their deepest conviction, the German professional clubs and the DFL have taken a stand against antisemitism and for a living culture of remembrance for many years. The joint event with the World Jewish Congress and the Central Council of Jews in Germany is the next major step.”