To all football enthusiasts!
Finally the time has come: I can announce that on the 15th July one of the craziest football projects was officially launched. For months we have been working towards it and NOW it was called ‚kick-off‘! But first things first…
Dear football fans!
What do Urs Meier and I have in common? Right, the love of football. And since the 15th July a really crazy football project for a good cause that has finally startet… And ONLY works when ALL parties pull together!
Creation of the project idea
It was shortly before my move in 2016. I gave my friendship book to my best friend and asked him to write in it. ‘That would be a nice memory,’ I said. A short time later, my eyes fell on a children’s book written by Dietmar Brück and Ulla Klopp, in which a football travels through different continents. It made ‘Bääääm’ in my head. I thought of my unfortunately late football-godfather Wolfgang Schlosser, who lived the following statement: ‘Football connects people’. I linked these three components and promptly came up with the idea of sending a football book around the world. Empty, only with some fairness rules or ‘rules of the game’ in the front. And for a good cause: The book should – as soon as the last page is written – be sent back to me and then borrowed by companies or associations for a charitable donation. The selection of companies etc. and the selection of the good causes for the donations should be made by a jury, consisting of the former FIFA referee Urs Meier, sports journalist Armin Wolf and myself. ‘If that works out? Is that possible or too crazy?’. These and more questions shot through my head. Then I thought of the earlier words of my football godfather: ‘You just have to dare. If you have an idea, you have to realize it’. And so one crazy story after another began, which finally led to the start of the project …
Urs Meier’s promise and the design of the book cover
I told Urs Meier about my idea. He was immediately enthusiastic and promised his support. In the coming weeks and months I figured out how the book might look best. After an unsuccessful search in various stationery stores (even abroad…) I decided to have a new book bound. Boom. Done. It went on… The book should stand for internationality and diversity – with football reference. So it was clear: The front and back are to be designed. Since my artistic talent is limited to stick figures, I urgently needed support. After a short reflection, I contacted my former teacher, Werner Müller. Johanna Busch and Felix Schneider from the Albert-Schweitzer-Realschule (school) Regensburg (= a Bavarian city) were quickly on board. I briefly described what it was about and how the whole thing could look rough. They themselves ultimately had creative freedom. I wanted to be surprised and that definitely happened to me! ‘Wow! Great, great’, I shouted with enthusiasm in front of the teacher’s room.
From the rules of the game to the translation
The next point was on the plan: formulating the rules of the game. For the project to have a chance at all, the first pages of the football book should first explain what is about and what is allowed and what is not. Finally, a book is to be created in which fans (female / male), volunteers, referees, trainers, managers, players, sports scientists, sports journalists, fan project staff, sports psychologists, kitmen, managing directors of professional and amateur clubs from different leagues and countries (maximum two per club) have written into. Each writer should keep the book for a maximum of three weeks and then share it with someone she / he trusts (or send it to). The aim is to create a creative book in which can be glued, drawn, painted and written. How it will look like? NOTHING should be known before. I ask the writers hereby (or in the rules of the game) to contact me briefly, so that I can inform you on my blog (in German) about where the book is currently located (stories and photos are also welcome). I would also like to ask you to send me by e-mail a copy / a picture / a scan in high resolution of the finished pages, so that we are protected if something would go wrong during shipping. If necessary, we could print the pages and I could bind them again to a new book.
After a few hours the ‘guidelines’ have been written. Now I had to bring people into the team who were best native speakers and could translate the rules of the game in Spanish, French and English. Finally, I quickly found great supporters: Carolina J. Mondi, Philippe Matic Arnauld des Lions and Jürgen Schreiner. From the beginning the message of the book was fixed: ‘FOOTBALL CONNECTS PEOPLE’. The central question is: ‘DO WE MANAGE IT ALL TOGETHER to set up such a project which will REFLECT the TEAM spirit in football internationally?’. In April the book was ready to go, I went to Augsburg and handed it over to Urs Meier. We decided to launch the project during the World Cup, as this seemed to us a good time (we would like to set a sign with the book!).
Patronage by Urs Meier
In order to make the project a little bit better known and its background and message to be transported even more, I wanted to get me a supporter on the boat, which I believe stands for the values of the football book and for the basic values of football. And who would fit better than former FIFA head referee Urs Meier? As mentioned, he immediately said ‚yes‘.
‘THANKS TO ALL HELPERS !!!’
At this point I would like to thank the two artists, the translation team, Werner Müller, Urs Meier and Armin Wolf and all coordinators for their great support!
‘HERE WE GO!’
On the 15th July, the former FIFA referee gave the official kick-off for the international project at 5.45 p.m. by handing over the football book in Baden-Baden to the nigerian national coach Gernot Rohr. I hope that all who receive the book will work together, handle it responsibly, pass it on reliably, send me the copy, etc. for backup as a copy, and keep us up to date on where it is located and what stories they may have experienced on the basis of the book… ONLY THEN, IF ALL COOPERATE, THE IDEA CAN BE COMPLETELY REALIZED!!!
Let us show that TEAMWORK is still possible today and internationally! Let’s tackle this together, because FOOTBALL CONNECTS PEOPLE! In my opinion, we can also use this to set an example.
I would also like to mention that everyone who has been involved in the book project so far has done so 100% HONORARY.
For the football!
Following, you will find my short interview with Urs Meier about the football book project.
Mr. Meier, why did you immediately say ‚yes‘ in support of the project?
I am incredibly convinced of the project – it combines incredible inside football. Then it is also for a good cause. Above all, it’s just an exciting project – where is it going? So, around the world. I think that’s really exciting. That’s exactly what football basically means: this world-spanning, this partly unpredictable, predictable, foreseeable. And that actually embodies the book exactly.
What has to happen so that you say: Now the project has been successful?
If the book has reached you as the initiator, when it has reached all sorts of players, and then it’s just filled up, back in your hands and then borrowed for a very good cause, and there’s some real money flowing in as well. That’s all. Then the project was just as expired as we all wished and imagined.
Why did you agree ‚despite of the craziness of the project‘?
Because I’ve always liked crazy ideas a priori. Finally, it was clear to me: I want to be there, I want to support this project. Moreover, it is of you and you are a young woman, that makes the full of passion and enthusiasm for football. And if you do not support that, then I don’t know…
What does the football book project mean to you – maybe again, if you see it in relation to your career?
I think that’s exactly how we connect with idols and football. A connection to the current football, that does not stop synonymous. Football is developing, but not everything – whether they are referees, coaches or students – they all have them somewhere, they’re all inside the factory and that’s what connects them. That’s just exciting. That’s football, that’s life, and because it’s just part of it, that’s great.
What do you think the book stands for?
It should stand for what football signifies for: for openness, in all areas of life – towards other cultures, different skin colors, religions. It should stand for FairPlay and for the different thinking – that you also likewise do not forget the weak who are not lucky enough to be able to practice this wonderful hobby, that they are also supported with this action. That’s what the book stands for.
Thank you for the interview, Mr. Meier.
You are welcome.