Sunday , March 26 2023

DEKRA appointed auditor for sustainability criteria in the DFL licensing process!

Expert organisation DEKRA has been appointed the independent external auditor for sustainability criteria in the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga licensing process. The Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are the first major professional football leagues to include mandatory sustainability criteria in their Licensing Regulations. The criteria will become applicable for the first time in the upcoming licensing process for the 2023–24 season.

DEKRA Assurance Services GmbH has been commissioned to audit the sustainability criteria for the licensing process over the course of the next three seasons. The documentation and evidence to be submitted by the clubs will be evaluated in terms of the extent to which the sustainability guidelines (Annexe XIV of the DFL Licensing Regulations) are implemented. The sustainability guidelines, and minimum criteria defined therein, were approved by the 36 professional clubs at a DFL Members Assembly in May 2022.

The aim is to ensure ongoing development in the area of sustainability, including on the basis of the guidelines and individual club initiatives, from the development and expansion of basic structures to the broadening of effective, measurable activities.

Minimum criteria covering three areas

The 117 minimum criteria set out in the sustainability guidelines cover three different areas: ‘club management and organisation’, ‘environment and resources’ and ‘stakeholder groups’. The clubs will be obliged to provide evidence of, for example, a sustainability and environmental strategy. This will also include annual footprint measurements, as well as a transport and traffic analysis. In addition, all clubs must implement a code of conduct for all employees, clearly distancing themselves from all forms of discrimination and committing to equality, diversity and inclusion.

These guidelines are designed to promote sustainability holistically – regarding environmental, social and economic aspects. The minimum criteria will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and adjusted over time to reflect new trends, developments and findings and to give all clubs the opportunity to develop and expand their structures continuously and future-oriented.

The minimum criteria will therefore be implemented on a step-by-step basis. Fulfilment of minimum criteria I and, optionally, minimum criteria II will be evaluated for the first time by DEKRA as part of the licensing process for the 2023–24 season. This initial audit will yield further valuable information for the clubs and leagues. On this basis and with a view to potentially extending the guidelines, fulfilment of all the minimum criteria will be mandatory in the licensing process for the 2024–25 season. When formulating the initial version of the guidelines, there was full awareness that it was important to establish minimum standards first. In addition, clubs can continue to operate with a focus on their respective strategic priorities.

Measures that have a major impact on structural, personnel and financial planning will still have to be feasible for all clubs in both leagues. This is why the DFL is also aiming to expand its range of central support services so that effective measures can be implemented across the leagues in a way that is simplified and technically sound. A current example of this is the ‘Sustainability Management in Sport and Sports Business’ further education programme, which is aimed at club employees and other stakeholders and was launched by the DFL in partnership with SPONSORs and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

As part of the newly founded Sustainability Commission, the Sustainability Manager Plenary and other bodies, the DFL and clubs will continue to collaborate closely to drive forward sustainability in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 together.

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