After a bumpy start, which not only delayed the start of construction through complaints, but did not make it entirely unlikely that the project would fail, the construction of the new DFB and its academy entered a decisive phase on Thursday: the foundation stone was symbolically laid at a festive ceremony, at which Chancellor Angela Merkel also came to Frankfurt as guest of honour.
In front of around 600 guests from the worlds of sport, politics and business, the Chancellor together with the 1. DFB Vice Presidents Reinhard Rauball and Rainer Koch, DFB Secretary General Friedrich Curtius, DFB Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge, DFB Director Oliver Bierhoff, national coach Joachim Löw, national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann as well as Peter Matteo (member of the management of the general contractor Groß und Partner) and architect Gerhard Wittfeld filled the foundation stone capsule and sealed the foundation stone. The Chancellor placed an anniversary edition of the Basic Law in the foundation stone capsule. "The Basic Law is the foundation for our coexistence in a free, democratic and constitutional Germany," said Merkel. "It stands for the values that unite us - values from which the integrative power of football also grows. There is nothing better on which the German Football Association and its Academy can build."
After receiving the building permit, the handover of the site by the City of Frankfurt and the ground-breaking ceremony on 3 May, the laying of the foundation stone represents the next milestone in the new building. In the new DFB and its academy, administration and sport will grow together under one roof for the first time. The building has a length of 307 meters and a maximum height of 18.50 meters. In addition to the administration and academy, the complex includes a football hall and a multi-purpose hall. On the site in Frankfurt Niederrad, 3.5 natural grass pitches and further training areas will also be created. An investment volume of a maximum of 150 million euros is planned for the new building and completion is scheduled for 2021.
Koch, 1st DFB Vice President Amateur, says: "In addition to the orientation of EURO 2024 in Germany, the construction of this competence centre for German football is the central future project of our association. This will benefit both the top and the bottom. In the future, we will be able to bundle our competencies even more effectively and thus offer the entire football family, in particular the regional and state associations, a comprehensive service.
Rauball, 1st DFB Vice President, said at the ceremony: "Today is a day when a piece of the future is taking shape: The laying of the foundation stone for the DFB Academy is the start of a new way of teaching and learning in German football. We are not only building a house, but establishing a new approach of cooperation, transparency and networking of knowledge, so that all players in German football will benefit from it."
DFB General Secretary Curtius added: "We are taking important steps for the future of the DFB these days. There is a new spirit of optimism around the new building, the anticipation of our new home is great. I can feel this with the employees in the Otto-Fleck-Schneise and our location on Goldsteinstraße. This identification with the association and its development shows how important and correct the construction of the new building is. All the more reason to celebrate the symbolic laying of the foundation stone. The fact that we were able to welcome Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel to this celebration means a lot to the DFB and to me personally. "
Oliver Bierhoff, Director National Teams and Academy, was also happy about the laying of the foundation stone: "With the new DFB and its Academy, we are creating a sporting home for everyone. In the new building we combine administration and sport with our coaches, players, referees and teams under one roof. This is the next important step for us on our way back to the top of the world. For German football, the new home country wants to be an even stronger service provider and source of inspiration. The symbolic laying of the foundation stone makes our vision even more tangible and visible. We are very pleased that Chancellor Angela Merkel is supporting us as our companion in this step, too."
Mayor Feldmann is particularly aware of the importance of the building for the Frankfurt location: "As a football fan, I am very pleased that construction work on this pioneering project is finally beginning. Professional football has a long tradition in Frankfurt. The academy not only strengthens our position as a sports city throughout Germany, but also sends positive impulses to all regional sports clubs."