Offenbach: Women should also live their passion for football

  • fromFabian Scheuermann

    conclude

The city of Offenbach honors the leader of the Kickers fan project, Antje Hagel, for her work against sexism in the football fan culture.

Regardless of whether it is a single suggestive slogan or a booming fan song that belittles sexual violence against women – Antje Hagel has been working in Offenbach for many years against such harsh realities in the football fan culture. The 58-year-old Kickers supporter has now received the Sophie von La Roche Prize from the city of Offenbach for her commitment against sexism and for women and girls in the fan scene. The award, which is dedicated to the life’s work of the writer Sophie von La Roche and the equality of women, is presented every two years and is endowed with prize money of 1500 euros.

To this day, women have experienced various forms of sexism and sexual violence in many football clubs – including in the stadium on Bieberer Berg, says Hagel. These ranged from exclusion to physical assault. The widespread assumption that many women who watch football have no independent interest in the sport, but are only there for the sake of the men, says Hagel, is also sexist. There are many female fans – at the Kickers today it is estimated around a quarter.

The project and the price

In Offenbach there is, as in over 60 other German cities, the socio-educational fan project that serves as a contact point for fans. The project offers advice and events – such as readings – but also helps with problems with the police and works against racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia. The manager is Antje Hagel (picture). Supporter of the fan project Offenbach is the International Federation (IB).

More info about these initiatives on fanprojekt-offenbach.info, f-in.org and instagram.com/fan.tastic.females – more information about the Sophie von La Roche Prize of the city of Offenbach is available here: bit.ly/2Ry1ItS

As the head of the Offenbach fan project, the cultural and political scientist has been trying to encourage girls and women to become active themselves if they want to live their passion for football. Hagel also sees a positive development over the years: “Today women show themselves more and are more visible.” It is now quite normal for women to be represented in the OFC fan advisory board or in the stadium construction interest group.

It’s the same with the Kickers fan magazine “Erwin” – after all, Hagel co-founded the magazine named after OFC legend Erwin Kostedde in 1994, which also explicitly takes a stand for tolerance and diversity.

The list of things that Hagel helped initiate over the past few decades is long. For example, she initiated the “Network Women in Football” (F_in) with other female fans and last year brought the “Fantastic Females” exhibition about women in football culture to Offenbach with active OFC fans. Hagel was also instrumental in developing an action plan against sexual violence in the fan culture of men’s football – also in 2019. The concept is intended to make it easier for clubs to protect female spectators from sexism, for example through prevention.

A specific change also resulted from this for the OFC, says Hagel: In February, the association revised its statutes so that discriminatory acts because of sexual orientation or gender can henceforth result in an exclusion from the association.

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