Germany invests heavily in club sports. DOSB

Germany has achieved a highly convincing outcome in its ReStart program - "Sport Moves Germany," as it not only saw an increase in the number of members in sports clubs but also enhanced better conditions for voluntary engagement and increased physical activity.

The results of the programme implemented by the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland (BMI) in 2022 have been revealed. The aim was to get more people in Germany moving and to promote interest in club sports after the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme included various measures, including public promotion through the complementary exercise campaign "Your Club: Sport, Simply Better."

For DOSB President Thomas Weikert, ReStart is one of the sporting highlights of 2023: "What we have achieved with ReStart, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, is of great value for an active and healthy society. It's fantastic to see how individuals, clubs, and associations have embraced each of the activities. We have really made a difference with the funds provided by the Bundestag. I would like to thank everyone involved. We can and must build on this success in the future."

The Minister of the Interior and Minister for Sport, Nancy Faeser, also commented: "I am impressed by the number of people we have reached in such a short time with the ReStart programme in cooperation with the DOSB. We have managed to get a lot of people involved in sport. All 150,000 vouchers for free club memberships have been used, which is a great success. In this way, we were able to give society a strong boost in difficult times. Sport is not only fun, it also promotes a healthy lifestyle. Sport, especially in clubs, helps to keep our society together.

The programme involved the issue of a voucher called the "Free (Return) to the Club - Sports Club Voucher." It allowed individuals to join a club of their choice free of charge for a certain period of time. The chosen club would be reimbursed a €40 refund for each "Sports Club Voucher" presented, thereby encouraging athletes to join or re-join clubs that had been hard hit by the pandemic. This was so successful that all the vouchers were used and the clubs received the money. 

The programme also included the section "Strong Club Actions - Sports Days are Holidays," which was aimed directly at sports clubs. A total of 4,000 club recruitment initiatives were rewarded with €1,000 each. So far, 3,593 applications have been approved, including cooperation with third parties, sports badge days and action days in primary schools. Clubs and associations have had around 500,000 participants and more than 30,000 new members, which is a significant success. 

Another initiative aimed at the general public, both inside and outside clubs, was to offer sports in open spaces and public green areas. 150 sports boxes with equipment and sports games were installed throughout Germany in collaboration with a sports club, often (109 times) in conjunction with open days.

Another successful aspect of the programme was the idea of making club sport in Germany visible and easily accessible through an online "movement map" (BeLa). Some 14 of Germany's 86,000 sports clubs currently participate, offering around 75,000 activities. And the trend is upwards. The ReStart programme was funded with €25 million by the Ministry of the Interior in 2023. 

The programme consisted of several pillars and modules involving associations, clubs, volunteers, club members, municipalities, and citizens. The objectives included getting more people active in Germany after the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting interest in club sports, increasing the training of coaches and referees and supporting the development of clubs.