Table of Content
Diversity in Sport Organizations Using the Example of Borussia Dortmund
Diversity in Sport Organizations Using the Example of Borussia Dortmund
The “ball game club Borussia 09 eV Dortmund”, which is also known, as “Borussia Dortmund”, “BVB” or ”BVB 09”, is a sports club from Germany, founded in 1909 in Dortmund. Typically for clubs founded in this century, there is a close relationship between the name and the clubs home region. The name “Borussia” is a translation from the Latin word “Prussia”, and indicates closes relationship to “Westphalia”, the region BVB was founded. Initially founded as a single-sport football club, Borussia Dortmund today has 110,000 members, is publicity-traded company, and provides also a successful Handball and Table tennis department (BVB, n.d.). Originally club colors of BVB have been blue, white and red. However, this has changed, as several adjacent sports club joined the club. The current team colors are black and yellow (BVB, n.d. a).
In the area of men's soccer, Borussia Dortmund is one of the most successful clubs in Germany, and is also represented in international competitions, for example the Champions League. Since the founding of the German Football League “Bundesliga”, (highest league in Germany) Dortmund has always been part of this league except of 1972 until 1976.
The club won eight German championships and three times the DFB – Pokal (German-Soccer-Cup). Borussia Dortmund won 1966 the European Cup and in 1997 the Champions League and also the World Cup. In the eternal table in the “Bundesliga”, BVB is placed as fifth (Kolbe, Schulze-Marmeling, 2009). Much of this success was celebrated in recent years, which has led to an enormous increase in media attention of the Association.
Borussia Dortmund represents tolerance and diversity, which is shown through the athletic and organizational structure. The athletic code of conduct of BVB supports talented young players, and dictates coaches to give young players opportunities to practice in the first team and sometimes even to get some time in the game. Additionally, the first team roster includes players with 12 different nationalities. (BVB, 2014) The organizational part of the association includes many different projects with concentration on diversity. Recently, the association received the “Julius Hirsch Award” for tolerance and diversity (WDR, 2014).
In this part of the thesis, three examples of successful diversity in the team of Borussia Dortmund will be attended. The examples refer to three different areas, which shows that the club generally puts a lot of emphasis on diversity and not restricted to certain areas.
First, the new Turkish Airlines Lounge is presented in the stadium. Turkish Airlines is one of the sponsors of the BVB and it is a well-known airline. The company has a spectator lounge furnished in cooperation with the association, in which the audience can enjoy Turkish food and can be served by waiters in Stewardess outfit. The lounge has the same design and thus reminiscent of the Turkish Airlines lounge at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul (Turkey). "With the new Turkish Airlines Lounge, we Further expand the diversity of our offer in the VIP areas of the Signal Iduna Park", Said Carsten Cramer, Director of Sales and Marketing Borussia Dortmund (cited from Turkish Airlines, 2014). This example shows the international diversity of the society in the design of the stadium in relation to the VIP area (Turkish Airlines, 2014).
The next example shows the diversity of Borussia Dortmund in the social field. 2012, the non-profit foundation named “light on” was founded by BVB and supports organizations outside the club structure with financial and material goods and services. The Foundation consists of three pillars: future, diversity and commitment. One example for commitment and diversity is the project “90 minutes against law”, which sensitized students in seminars on right-wing populism and radicalism. (Schramm, 2014) An example of financial support is the donation of soccer goals for the "House of diversity ". This is a cross-cultural encounter in Dortmund, working together in 34 different organizations towards children to offer them a perspective. In the context of child and youth centers, two mobile football goals were required to offer the children in the “yard of the plant association” game opportunities. The two goals worth almost € 900, and got sponsored on April 11 by "light on", which was represented by Marco Riihmann (BVB, 2014 a).
The third example shows that the club does not tolerate xenophobia at its fans. A fan shouted during a minute's silence, the words "Sieg Heil", which is regarded in Germany as very racist and xenophobic. The fan has been located with the help of technical means and there was a stadium ban imposed by 2020. This penalty was imposed stronger as imposed after the guidelines of the German Soccer Association that only prescribes a three-year ban, because Borussia has this not perceived as sufficient. They have an extra ban imposed by another six years, so that the person is allowed to enter the stadium in 2020 again. "Borussia Dortmund stands for tolerance and diversity with the utmost conviction and want to fight against racism and intolerance with every available Means", the club said, and pointing with his approach that he will not tolerate such behavior (Homewood, 2014).
Two main weaknesses occur in the structure of the association. The first one is the limited variety of sports. Borussia offers only three man sports, and not one single women’s sport. As women’s soccer gains popularity in Germany every year, the association would benefit from founding a team. Not offering a women’s sport is discriminating against sexes and should not be part of such a huge club.
The second weakness is located in the association’s management. In its statement of compliance published the following:
“Re section 5.1.2 (1) sentences 2 and 3: Long-term succession planning is the responsibility of the Managing Directors of the Company and – given Name did the Supervisory Board have no authority to appoint and dismiss personnel - the Executive Committee of Borussia Dortmund COI -GmbH. The Latter thus acts to Ensure Sufficient diversity When the staffing management. However, given that the fact that the Company Has Two Managing Directors, Which is currently Considered Sufficient, and the fact that thesis positions have been filled for the foreseeable future, the recommendation in the Code to include women in the management does not appear practicable in the immediate future” (Pieper; Watzke; Tress, 2014).
The statute indicates an inequality between men and women in the management. Even today, when everyone is talking about equality, many companies as also Borussia prefer having men in leading positions. Gender discrimination has to be eliminated of the Declaration of Conformity and be seen without any tolerance.
Based on the earlier mentioned weaknesses the association has, it has two main chances for improving diversity.
A chance for the club to build a better variety is to offer more sports. This would increase its popularity, and would result in more members and thus more revenue through membership fees. But it is also a way to the fight against current discrimination which prevails in the public, to reduce it, and thus to change the reputation of the association positive manner. The main example is the foundation of a women's football team. Football enjoys the greatest prestige in Germany, for man as great as for women. By now almost every professional club has a women's football team, which plays in one of the first divisions (e.g. the women's team of Bayern Munich plays in division one) (bfv, 2010). This is another advertisement for the club and so reflects the diversity again. But not only the diversity of the gender is extended by doing so, also the general acknowledgment of the association will rise and make the club more popular.
Another possibility to improve the diversity is the change of the Statement of Compliance. The club should emphasize the statement that it is not possible to be in management area in the next few years for a woman. It would bring the association a better variety and creativity if women will be integrated in management positions. Because gender equality is such an important topic in Germany, the change of the statute would also raise the public image of the association. The while characteristic of Borussia Dortmund would change in a positive manner, by just changing these two things: more sports variety and better gender equality.