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Sporting Challenges

Germany is highly successful in top-class sports disciplines, but grassroots sport also plays an important role.
Malaika Mihambo
© dpa

Germany loves sport and it has enjoyed great success in international competitions. In the medal table for all modern Olympic Games, Germany ranked second in 2022 with over 1,800 medals, behind only the USA. Some 27 million people in Germany belong to the country’s 90,000 or so sports clubs. In addition to their sporting activities, these clubs have an important function in promoting participation and socialisation, particularly in the areas of youth work and integration.  Almost all clubs have people from migrant backgrounds in their teams.

The “Integration through Sport” programme is funded jointly by the German Olympic Sports Confeder­ation (DOSB) and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. It acknowledges how migration enriches Germany’s sporting landscape. The DOSB is an umbrella organisation for sport in Germany and claims to be the largest civilian movement in the country. It funds both elite and mass participation sports. The German Football Association (DFB), which has 7.2 million members, is part of the DOSB. 

Voluntary work with refugees

The Federal Government Federal Government The Federal Government and cabinet is made up of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. While the Chancellor holds the power to issue directives, the ministers have departmental powers, meaning that they independently run their respective ministries in the framework of those directives… Read more › has joined forces with the DFB and the DFB’s Edigius Braun Foundation to set a further integration initia­tive in motion. This supports activities such as projects to integrate refugees into sport. The German national football team is supporting the “1:0 für ein Willkommen” project (1:0 for a welcome) and its successor project, “2:0 für ein Willkommen”. Since 2015 these projects have provided financial support to over 3,700 clubs for their voluntary work with refugees.

The Bundesliga is the shining light in German sport. As the top flight of German football, it is considered one of the most competitive leagues. Germany’s national men’s and women’s teams are among the most successful teams in the world. Alongside football, popular sports in Germany include gymnastics, athletics and handball.

The Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe has played a major role in much of Germany’s sporting success through its support for around 4,000 athletes each year. Another major area of its work concerns supporting and funding athletes with disabilities. Such sportswomen and men from Germany have enjoyed high levels of success in international competition and the Paralympics.

Nations brought together through sport

German sporting organisations are working through the International Sports Promotion programme to help develop sport in several countries in the Global South. The Federal Foreign Office is a partner in the programme. Over 1,500 short and long-term projects have been delivered in over 130 countries since the early 1960s.