Having shown support for months on end, the Bundesliga is now taking further steps to show welcome for refugess in Germany. This weekend, the league's players will be involved on the pitch.
Bundesliga players will wear a message of support on their shirts during this weekends league fixtures in a sign of welcome for refugees.
34 of the 36 clubs in the top-two divisions will be taking part in the initiative in which a logo on the sleeve of the players' shirts will read "Wir Helfen #refugeeswelcome". St. Pauli and Union Berlin, both of the second division, have refused to take part in the campaign, although both clubs have been at the forefront of welcoming refugees to the country.
The "we are helping" campaign logo of the "Bild" newspaper replaces the patch held by Hermes, the logistics group which is a partner of the German Football League (DFL). Hermes waived its right to the sleeve advertising space for the fixtures from Friday to Sunday. Several Bundesliga club officials have welcomed the initiative.
Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Völler was quoted by "Bild" on Tuesday, saying, "We want to make it clear that everyone should help where and how they can." Hertha Berlin boss Michael Preetz supported Völler's words, saying, "The refugee drama concerns everyone; nobody is allowed to look away. We as Bundesliga clubs can use our influence and our ability to appeal to many fans, to meet the many refugees who have already suffered."
Bundesliga clubs have been at the forefront of supporting refugees ariving in the country in recent months, with all top division teams being involved in initiatives including providing free training, hot meals and tickets for newcomers in the country.
apc/rd (dpa, SID)