The program deals with the increasing commercialization of football and the challenges of development policy.
Hamburg – Externally nothing new under the sun or the evening sky over Altona with Markus Lanz on ZDF. Whenever the summary of the Champions League match day – this time u. a. with the sobering debut of a 0:3 home defeat in the “premier class” for the reigning Europa League winner Eintracht Frankfurt against Sporting Lisbon – his program is only 45 minutes long and there is some alibi-like talk about football.
Not about goals, tactics and titles, of course, but the developments around the most beautiful minor thing in the world. Key word: football as big business. Studio guests this time: ex-soccer player Neven Subotić, who has made a radical professional turnaround, and for the first time Gordon Repinski, deputy editor-in-chief of the platform “The Pioneer”, which is full-bodied self-promotion on its homepage: “Independent journalism on politics, business and society, directly from the world’s first media ship.”
Neven Subotić at Markus Lanz (ZDF): He doesn’t care much about football
With so much (un)assumed independence of the two participants in the conversation from Markus Lanz, the moderator with his own opinion, it will actually be an exciting, intellectually challenging talk that is not as full of empty phrases as one is used to from politicians is invited to his broadcast. Neven Subotić, who now dresses like a statesman himself in a black suit and tie, not only settles accounts with himself about the excesses of his time as a professional soccer player, but also takes an extremely critical view of western development work, with active support from journalist Gordon Repinski.
The 33-year-old ex-Borussia-Dortmund central defender and co-author of the book “Everything. Why the path to a fairer world begins with us” amazes right at the beginning with the statement that he now doesn’t care whether Borussia, where he was celebrated as a “club icon” by the fans, plays a match “2: win 0 or lose 0:1”. He calmly comments on the surprising dismissal of his former coach Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea Football Club: “He will certainly find an employer.” .” He is also concerned with the civil war that has been going on in Ethiopia since November 2020, the African country where he is providing development aid by trying to motivate it to help itself.
His credo for 2022 is: “I’m for people who aren’t perfect … that’s where the complexity lies.” Before he was on the sunny side of life as a professional soccer player, he went through difficult times himself. Born in Banja Luka in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Serbian international fled to Germany with his parents and older sister in 1990 at the age of one because a devastating war was threatening Yugoslavia, which later led to the collapse of the multinational state. After staying in Germany for ten years, the family was suddenly to be expelled, even though his sister was going to high school and he too had good grades.
Neven Subotić with Markus Lanz (ZDF): In 1999 he moved to the States
In 1999 he moved with his family to Salt Lake City in the United States to avoid deportation to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the USA he played in various clubs and even in the youth national team. The rest is football history: He, who has long had German citizenship, became German football champion via a detour with 1. FSV Mainz 05 in 2011 and 2012 and won the DFB Cup with Borussia Dortmund in 2012, and was also in the final of the champions in 2013 league. Other stations were 1. FC Köln, AS Saint-Étienne (France), 1. FC Union Berlin, Denizlispor (Turkey) and SCR Altach (Austria), where he ended his playing career after the 2020/21 season. He has been socially committed for a long time: Neven Subotić is an ambassador for the association “Kinderlachen”. In 2012 he founded the Neven Subotic Foundation, which carries out sanitation and well construction projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The European Parliament honored her with the Silver Rose Award 2019 for her commitment.
“If I compare my life now with my best time at Borussia Dortmund, I feel ashamed that I was this character,” Markus Lanz quotes him from his book published in 2022. What is the reason for this shame? The eloquent athlete honestly: “I put myself in the center of the world, I thought everything revolved around me”. His environment even encouraged him in this egoism: That is justified as long as the sporting track record is right! “I was missing a guide to what’s really important in life,” he admits. Then he talks about the day he bought two luxury cars because a colleague had done the same. “Today I understand what that means in terms of externalities,” Neven Subotić admits. “The raw materials, what happens to the car later – other people pay for that.” is a very isolated consideration. We think that raw materials somehow magically come to Stuttgart and that’s where the Porsche is assembled. However, the raw materials are not magically delivered, but bought elsewhere.”
Neven Subotić is hard on Markus Lanz with football
Rarely has a soccer player taken stock as openly and self-critically as Neven Subotić did that evening. He even reveals his starting salary to Markus Lanz: “I had a special payment of 100,000 euros and a monthly salary that wasn’t much less than that – shortly afterwards it was even more”. And then he hits you hard: “The social train for football has left. During the corona pandemic, we had the opportunity to briefly put the brakes on and evaluate how we should approach the future.” The reality in 2022 would be different: Many clubs would expand their stadiums, transfer fees and salaries would explode again. The moderator agrees, stating that this year the five top European leagues spent a total of 4.5 billion euros on transfers and thus 1.5 billion euros more than in 2021. The reviewer of these lines also finds it crazy and admits it Eintracht Frankfurt supporter.
Neven Subotić finds all of this repugnant, which is why he now takes care of the foundation he created (and named after him), which has implemented around 484 projects in African countries to date. The time after the completion of the respective projects is also extremely important to him and his colleagues: “We work with our partners, but also with the local water authorities, to set up or support systems.” stay, finally to his use. He himself worked in development aid for many years and names their problems without any ifs or buts: “It starts with the well. The next step is to think: How can I teach the local people to build wells themselves and to maintain them? It’s getting bigger and bigger, but also more and more bureaucratic. This is exactly the same in many other areas of health, education and agriculture.”
|Markus Lanz on ZDF||The guests of the program from September 7, 2022|
|Neven Subotic||Former professional soccer player|
|Gordon Repinski||Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer|
He is absolutely right when he says: “The effect is that you build up large bureaucracies, work with very established and privileged people on site and increasingly lose sight of what really matters in the projects, where it actually happens he and Neven Subotić are taking vehement action against this “self-sustaining landscape of institutions”. He also illustrates why China, which has repeatedly been criticized by the West for its human rights violations, is often a welcome helper in Africa than Europe and the USA. “They do it differently by saying: We are interested in raw materials, so we offer the infrastructure for them. And we offer that we don’t get involved politically.” As is well known, the West would handle this very differently: “It’s important to us that we don’t work with corrupt countries, that human rights standards are at a certain level. The Chinese approach is the more pragmatic, simpler, faster – and ultimately the more effective for many people in Africa.”
In the end, Neven Subotić addresses another important point that has a significant influence on the African reception of Western development aid: “Germany’s colonial history is not part of our culture of remembrance. How do we deal with this colonial legacy?” This question is aimed at each of us, but above all at the current federal government, which, as is well known – like the previous one – has so far taken a more than half-hearted position on this, especially with regard to the genocide affecting the Herero and Nama in German South West Africa during the years 1904-1908. Although there was an official apology in 2021 after decades without recognition, let alone processing, by the then Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD), the ridiculously low payment of a total of 1.1 billion euros for a “reconstruction and development” program was not made only heavily criticized by victims’ organizations. But that’s the topic for another round of talks, agrees Markus Lanz. As always. (Marc Hairapetian)