In sports, soccer is my passion. My heart belongs to the 1. FC Köln – the major local Cologne soccer club. From boys 8 to 12 classes, I played soccer myself with TuS Blau-Weiß Königsdorf. Soon, I realized that most of my team-mates were much more talented than me in handling the ball. But as I wanted to remain faithful to soccer, I chose to take the whistle into my hand and became a soccer referee in my home association “Fußball-Verband Mittelrhein” [Soccer Association of the Middle Rhine region]. It is a subdivision of Deutscher Fußball-Bund [German Football Association]. I refereed matches up to the then 6th league and was a linesman up to the 4th league. My many commitments don’t allow me to referee games myself today, but a few years ago I did some coaching with talented youngsters.
At age 17, I started to assist with teaching in our local referee’s group. At age 18 I was appointed as a regular instructor by the local referee’s group, district of “Köln-Land” (Cologne country-side), today: the Rhein-Erft district. In my opinion there was a lack of structure, planning and inclusion of young co-workers in the work with young talented referees. In 1996, I therefore developed a concept (in German language only) for the support of young talented referees, which lead my home association to introduce an association-wide talent squad of young referees and one in every of its districts below it; in the same year, I was appointed as an instructor with an association-wide responsibility. Since 1997, my home association has attended – following my ideas – with the talent squad the “Dana Cup”, one of the biggest soccer tournaments in the world. This impressive soccer event in fantastic Denmark (I am a fan of Scandinavia!) was a highlight every single year, and I am proud that I took the chair in the delegation since I am was a member of the executive board of FVM soccer association. It’s unbelievable: In 2012 we attended the tournament for the 15th (!) time. Here is a great article (in German language only) about it by Tobias Altehenger. Due to organizational difficulties, the journey was canceled in 2013, but it shall be provided by FVM again in 2014.
In 1998, I was elected a member of FVM board of referees. Three years later, I was elected a member of the executive board of my home soccer association in the position of the “representative of the young generation”. When, in 2002, Harry Windelschmidt retired from the office of the Chief Officer for Public Relations and Marketing, I took his position commissarial. The position of the Chief Officer for Media, Communication and Marketing I possessed until the end of the year 2012.
It was a great pleasure and an honor to have the opportunity to work most of my time in the FVM with the late FVM President (and German Football Association Vice President) Karl-Josef Tanas – one of the most impressive personalities I have ever met. He has promoted and supported me sustainably. I had the opportunity to express this gratitude to him in his orbituary.
Besides my formerly mentioned maxims under „Law“, my other maxims are frankness, honesty and transparency – indispensable guidelines of my modern communication policy – internally as well as externally, and also beyond the realm of sport associations. Following that aspiration in my areas of responsibility I looked after FVM’s website, the association’s magazine „EINSZUEINS“, and I acted, when necessary, as Chief Press and Media Officer and keep an eye on the whole Public Relations works and the association’s public image. Beyond this, I was responsible for all its IT questions. With the activities in marketing, we gained financially strong and considerable financial support for soccer sport, after public grants to the charitable sport associations were cut back noticeably over the last couple of years.
Regarding a contemporary communication policy, attending as many appointments as possible with our clubs as the base of our sport, was a point of honor whilst being in office. There, one really could feel why soccer is so important for many people. I like to take my time to listen: Most of the problems that initially seem insurmountable, can be solved much more easily than the concerned people thought. Honest and mostly friendly feedback gives me the motivation to be committed to volunteer work.
Since 2010, I am an arbitrator with the German Football Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund, DFB) in the “Bundesgericht” (Federal Arbitration Court), the highest “soccer court” in Germany. It especially decides appeals against decisions of the “Sportgericht” (Sports Arbitration Court) – the other and better known DFB Arbitration Court, which usually sets the suspensions after a dismissal in the major German soccer leagues. I have been re-elected into this office at the general assembly of the German Football Association on October 25th 2013.
I have decided to take a break from my volunteer work with the FVM football association from the turn of the year 2012/2013. After more than 22 years of volunteer commitment with highly temporal dedication and in an exposed position in the last years, I am now facing new and different challenges in my professional life and in academics, with which I need to cope. Thus, now it is time for a temporary new focus. I retired from my offices in the FVM soccer association at the end of the year 2012.
As a matter of course, I am still closely tied to the FVM soccer association, after I have been responsible for or a part of a variety of projects, which have brought FVM to the front and – in part – characterize it today. Among these concepts are among others for instance:
- The concept for the introduction of the „talent group“ (Verbandsförderkader) for FVM young referees,
- The planning, implementation and group leading of the annual journey of the talent group to Dana Cup football tournament,
- The planning, development and association-wide introduction of a Corporate Identity, including the re-design of the logo, its guidelines of usage and a consistent business equipment,
- The planning, development and introduction of „official announcements online“ by replacing the traditional print „official announcements“ through an online CMS with a subsequent significant reduction of costs for the clubs and avoiding unnecessary administrative burdens for the volunteer workers in the clubs and the association,
- The advancement of the association magazine „EINSZUEINS“ [„one-to-one“], including a complete re-design, change of agency, editorial realignment, chief editorship, conduct of the meetings of the editorial team,
- The complete re-design and re-launch of FVM’s website including briefing and controlling of the commissioned agency, chief editorship of the contents,
- The professionalization of the association marketing by engagement of a professional marketing agency and
- The development of conceptional principles for the professional execution of the FVM Cup Final, including a fixed venue.