In collaboration with ten universities, the European football union, UEFA, have been able to determine football’s social value using the pan-European study SROI (Social Return on Investment). It is now possible, for the first time, to accurately quantify the value of amateur football and thereby also of the volunteer sector. Following pilot projects in Sweden and Romania and an initial cost-user analysis in Scotland, the numbers for football in Germany could be published. DFB president Fritz Keller and UEFA’s first vice president Karl-Erik Nilsson first presented these numbers during Tuesday’s federal press conference in Berlin. The social value for public interest in Germany gained through football was calculated at 13.9 billion Euros per year.
The effects are measured according to the money that flows into the economy from football, reduced costs through positive effects on society and the improved health of the general population. The model identifies the monetary value, which emerges precisely because football is played at 24,500 amateur clubs. In calculating football’s social value, the researchers took figures from three key areas: The economy, society, and the health sector.
DFB president Fritz Keller said following: “These impressive figures underline the outstanding and meaningful work done by volunteers, not just for football, but for the whole of society. For this indispensible work, which is now, more than ever, being rigidly tested, we would like to say thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. These numbers also demonstrate the impact of sports in areas aside from the important sense of community it offers us, which we are all currently missing in our everyday lives. Football and all other sports are an essential component of the strategy for overcoming the crisis we find ourselves in.”
UEFA vice president Nilsson highlighted the significance of amateur football in societies all across Europe. The political relevance of these impressive statistics was later pointed out by Germany’s minister of the interior, Horst Seehofer. He put particular emphasis on football’s role as a trailblazer, but also stressed the value of sports in general.
Following the announcement of the SROI study project, the DFB started the social media campaign #ehrenamtistunbezahlbar (‘volunteer work is priceless’). On the weekends of 4-6 and 11-13 December, the 1.59 million volunteers in football will be thanked for their work through banners and digital display messages at all games in Bundesliga 2, 3. Liga and FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga.
The UEFA study project was initiated by the UEFA programme ‘GROW’, launched in 2015, a central platform for business development and financial advice. Using the SROI study, following numbers were calculated for Germany:
- The value of voluntary work in football amounts to 2.18 billion Euros each year, according to wages typical in the industry.
- The effect on crime rate means that costs amounting to 33.8 million Euros can be saved each year. However, the sum of 42.44 million Euros for medical expenses has to be subtracted from this.
- Football has a positive effect on education and employment, resulting in a social value of 386 million Euros each year.
- Playing football reduces risk of illness and therewith medical expenses, which saves 5.6 billion Euros. The increase of subjective well-being leads to a profit of 4.86 billion Euros.
- Each year, the 2.1 million footballers and their parents spend 4.43 billion Euros on membership fees, merchandise, transport and other purchases.
The DFB has been promoting volunteers in football under the umbrella of “Aktion Ehrenamt” (Volunteer Initiative) since 1997. The measures aim to support clubs in gaining volunteers, qualifying them, establishing long-term commitments and setting them up for future success. Every year, to mark International Volunteer Day on 5 December, the top leagues in Germany promote the campaign, “Danke ans Ehrenamt” (“Thank you, volunteers”).