How do sustainability and environmental protection, or the promotion of exercise and reading among children and young people fit in with the work of a Bundesliga club? Why is a football club getting involved in cultural projects in the city? For what reason is SC helping out local restaurants during the pandemic?
Projects like these are part of SC Freiburg's ongoing social commitment, which can be traced back to the club’s first promotion into the Bundesliga in 1993. Since then, SC Freiburg has continually expanded this social commitment so that it now encompasses more than 600 annual events, involving 20,000 people in the city area. This commitment is based around the four pillars of “education”, “exercise”, “environment”, and “solidarity”, which together encompasses SC’s motto – “more than football”.
Fair play in the real world is based on the foundation of education. Only through adequate education and training can children and young people be equipped with the right tools to deal with the challenges of a globalised world that is constantly undergoing change at great speed.
At SC Freiburg, education is understood not just as the development of young people’s cognitive, cultural, and practical skills, but also as developing them as people through the promotion of interpersonal and social capabilities. This is one of the reasons we attach great importance to ensuring that young talents at the Freiburg Football School and in our women’s football teams receive a dual education alongside developing their footballing qualities at an elite level. Specifically, this means that they also complete their academic or vocational training.
However, it is not just within SC Freiburg itself that the philosophy of ensuring that young people have access to adequate education and training is promoted. We have repeatedly initiated projects with the aim of motivating children and young people to learn through their enjoyment of the game of football, regardless of their ability on the pitch. A key part of this is introducing them to social issues and encouraging a responsible attitude to themselves and to other people. In short, the aim is to promote fair play in the real world.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a lack of exercise is one of the greatest problems of the 21st century in developed countries. In Germany, long-term analysis from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Karlsruhe Educational College has shown that 80% of children get too little exercise. In Freiburg and the surrounding area, children and teenagers are playing outside on streets and fields less and less. SC Freiburg wants to reverse that trend with our football schools, camps, and after-school clubs for kids. There are also numerous other offers to SC Freiburg members alongside.
No matter the format, our concept of kids’ football stands at the heart of everything we do. We are always thinking of the children, and their physical and personal development is what drives the activities that we have on offer.
The sustainability of resources, and how those resources are put to good use, are core principles of SC Freiburg’s identity. It’s no coincidence that we were the first Bundesliga club to put solar panels on the roof of our stadium, something we did back in 1995 with the construction of the new South stand. In 2001, we also redeveloped Freiburg Football School’s ramshackle Möslestadion, ensuring it met the latest ecological standards. Five years later, the Schwarzwald-Stadion even became Germany’s first stadium to be powered entirely by solar energy, a fact which was used to promote the country amid a technology campaign centred around the 2006 World Cup hosting bid. We see it as our duty to ensure that the new stadium in Wolfswinkel is up to those same standards. As well as functioning well and being aesthetically pleasing, the stadium should also reflect SC Freiburg’s core principles regarding resource management and environmental protection.
Freiburg involves its fans in its environmental cause in plenty of ways beyond just the investment in our stadiums. We run campaigns, both large and small, with the aim of targeting our young fans and encouraging them to consider environmental issues and act responsibly.
Of course, there are plenty of small gestures of solidarity that a professional football club like Freiburg makes every day. When possible, SC Freiburg supports local amateur clubs or players in need through benefit matches or testimonials. The club also donates money, kits and other items to help those in need. We can’t possibly list all of such engagements under the header "Solidarity", nor the many ways Sport-Club seeks to promote the message of solidarity incidentally in many of its activities.
We consider the many projects that SC Freiburg undertakes, both before and after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, to be a much greater part of “Solidarity”. Either alone, or with our partners, we support and help initiatives away from the football pitch to support clubs and institutions who may otherwise not be taken seriously, to develop and to engage with society. Not to be forgotten are the projects that aim to use the popularity and publicity of football to change society for the better by fighting racism and discrimination, and by helping those from migrant backgrounds to integrate in society.