Sylvia Schenk is familiar with sports politics. The former middle-distance runner, who took part in the 1972 Munich Olympics, heads the Sport working group at Transparency International Germany. She has carried out various activities in sport, including being a member of FIFA's Human Rights Advisory Board, she was involved in Hamburg's application for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which was ultimately rejected by a referendum. And she was at the World Cup in Qatar as a so-called human rights volunteer.
Schenk isn't one of those people who immediately succumbs to obsessive indignation when they just hear the word Gianni Infantino (Fifa boss). In the debate about the human rights situation in Qatar, she advocated taking a more differentiated look at the country, about which many Germans very quickly formed a conclusive opinion (and about the World Cup and the DFB team anyway).
The same applies to the hasty judgments about the much-criticized World Football Association or the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In Germany in particular, many critics made it too easy for themselves, which is how Schenk's view of the major developments in sports and international sports policy can be summed up.
Now, after the pan-German debacle in Qatar, Schenk believes the next disaster for German sport is looming. The German Olympic Sports Confederation DOSB wants to start a debate about whether Germany should apply for the 2036 or 2040 Olympic Games. Positive signals quickly came from politics after the announcement. Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher was impressed by the idea of several cities (e.g. Berlin and Hamburg) applying together.
Schenk thinks that's naive. "I'd love to experience that, but we don't have all the prerequisites for that at the moment, we'd have to work a lot first and bring ourselves back up to international standards in terms of sport policy," she said in an interview with the radio station NDR Info.
Because in terms of sports policy, Germany has long since said goodbye to the world stage, says Schenk. For example, the DOSB overslept all the developments of the past few years. Today it is no longer usual to simply submit a glossy application, as Hamburg would have done, but you have to have discussions in advance, make contacts, explore opportunities. The IOC sort out beforehand whether an application is worthwhile.
The favorite argument of politicians, that sports facilities and infrastructure are available in Germany to hold such a major event without requiring a great deal of effort, does not apply either: "...none of the sports facilities now available in Germany correspond to today's Olympic standards, Especially not the Olympic standard for 2040 or 2044. So to say we already have everything is nonsense anyway."
Schenk also distrusts the true intentions of the DOSB. She suspects that the application only serves to strengthen sports funding in Germany because an application has this effect. "I think that's the calculation of the German Olympic Sports Confederation at the moment. Otherwise he would first get international knowledge before making waves nationally".
In terms of sports policy, Germany is "completely deregistered". "There is a lack of a sense of reality in German sport, there is a lack of international flair, there is a lack of political flair, and again, we just experienced in Qatar how the DFB made a fool of itself and the whole of Germany. We have to start very small and don't talk about the Olympics now." And who should support Germany in the event of an Olympic bid, Schenk asks. "We just alienated Africa and Asia in Qatar, (...), who should actually vote for a German Olympic bid?"
Sources: "NDR Info", "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung"