German athletes are on the verge of setting a new and independent organization. It will be entirely separate from the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the umbrella organisation of German sports.
"We believe that athletes need their own voice, and that a separate organisation will allow us to independently present athletes' views," Maximilian Hartung, a German fencer and current chairman of the Athletes' Committee of the DOSB told German broadcaster ARD.
"We want to have our say as partners on equal terms. Up to now that has not been the case."
A decision will be taken at a meeting of athletes' representatives in Cologne on October 15 where the new organization is expected to be named "Athleten Deutschland."
The main catalyst for wanting to set up an independent organization representing German athletes’ interests was the scandal surrounding state-sponsored doping in Russia, uncovered thanks to investigations by ARD.
Kassner and Hartung said the week-long debates on whether to exclude Russian athletes from the Olympic Games in Rio were frustrating for the German athletes and those representing them.
"We were relatively powerless," said Kassner. "The athletes’ representatives simply didn’t have enough say to be able to influence the decision-making on whether Russia could attend the Olympics or not."
The athletes themselves wanted to have their say and Kassner believes "the time is ripe now for confederations to accept athletes as negotiating partners on equal terms, and not just as token parts of a statute."
mf/mp (ard, sportschau)