Energy crisis in sport: existential threat for many clubs

“Solidarity,” says Holger Dahlke and pauses briefly, “Solidarity alone will not help us this fall and winter.” His voice might sound aggressive at this moment, but it doesn’t sound like it. Dahlke speaks rather thoughtfully about what has been on his mind for weeks: energy. Dahlke is a board member of MTV Cologne 1850, the city’s largest mass sports club with 5,300 members, and he has no idea what exactly is in store for him and the club.

He only knows one thing: “It will be violent.” MTV Köln 1850 had to pay 36,000 euros for electricity and gas in 2019, for the current year Dahlke expects 75,000, and in 2023 even around 100,000 euros. “Of course we can save energy,” he says, “but we can’t compensate for the additional costs. No chance.”

“More threatening than the Corona crisis”

The energy crisis is also hitting sport with full force. Cold gymnasiums, showers without warm water, bans on floodlights – all of this is no longer taboo for mass sport. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has already reacted and calls on the approximately 90,000 sports clubs in Germany to save at least twenty percent energy in the coming months. And yet the fear prevails.

“We and the state sports associations receive new calls for help from sports clubs all over Germany every week,” says DOSB President Thomas Weikert FAS. inquiry: “We see the danger that the energy crisis could lead to structural damage in the sports club landscape in Germany, because the reserves in many clubs have been used up after two years of the pandemic.” Juliane Kuhlmann, President of the State Sports Association of Hesse, even says: ” The energy crisis is more threatening for organized sport than the Corona crisis.”

Do gyms look so deserted and empty in winter?

Do gyms look so deserted and empty in winter?

Image: Lucas Bäuml

MTV Köln 1850 only increased the subscriptions for its members at the beginning of this year. Adults now pay 20 euros a month for the complete offer, young people and children 13.50 euros. It should stay that way for the time being. Because the members also include many people from low-income households. People who are currently suffering particularly from the increased prices for food, petrol and electricity. “We want to reach everyone in society, that’s part of our DNA,” says Dahlke: “We don’t want anyone to fall down because they can no longer afford the sport.”

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