The Organisational and Club History of Football in East Germany
Collaborative project between the Centre for German Sporting History (ZdS) and the Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam, funded by the German Football Association (DFB)
For the first time, the German Football Association allows the history of East German football to be systematically researched in two component projects. Dr Jutta Braun and Michael Barsuhn from the Centre for German Sporting History (ZdS) in Berlin examine – in cooperation with the Centre for Contemporary History, Potsdam (ZZF) – in one of the two component projects the organisational and club history of football during state socialism.
Football was by far the most popular form of sport in the GDR. However, although the leagues of East Germany scarcely differed at first glance from those of their Western counterpart, there were fundamental differences: in East Germany, free, civic associations did not exist; the clubs were instead state-controlled bodies. Furthermore, the influence of Soviet models in the form of military sport and the dynamo teams was virulent. Finally, company sports clubs provided a politically desirable proximity to daily production routines. At the same time, the private world of football repeatedly rejected several mechanisms of establishing rule and generated its own coordinates of action. This research project pursues, alongside the first reconstruction of the organisational landscape above all the fault lines between the state’s desire for control and the sporting wilfulness of the clubs and their supporters. In the framework of a contemporary history of the sport, the project considers the attendance culture of the popular sport of football as a ‘flaw in the system’ of the SED regime.
Presse information of the ZZF Potsdam from 28 July 2014 (PDF) about the research project on football in East Germany.
Dr. Jutta Braun
Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam
Am Neuen Markt 1
Office: Am Neuen Markt 1, room 0.17b
Email: braun [at] zzf-potsdam.de