Olympics-German Olympic Committee and sports federation merge
11th December 2005, 19:24
Germany's National Olympic Committee (NOK) and the German sports federation (DSB) voted in separate ballots on Saturday to merge into a single entity.
Reacting to Germany's disappointing sixth-place finish in the medal table at the 2004 Olympics, the two organisations revived discussions for a merger to create greater efficiency.
NOK delegates, meeting in Cologne, voted 109 to 29 for the merger, just above the 75 percent hurdle. The Deutsche Sportbund (DSB) delegates then voted overwhelmingly in favour, 535 to 40.
There was a heated discussion about the merger by NOK delegates before the ballot and the winter sports division voted against it.
"I knew it was going to be close, but I never had any doubts that it would not succeed," said NOK president Klaus Steinbach.
The NOK rejected an earlier merger attempt in 1996.
"I can't even begin to imagine what the consequences would have been if there had been a few more 'no' votes," said DSB head Manfred von Richthofen. "Now sports in Germany will be able to flourish as a political heavyweight in society."
The government had signalled its support for a merger with financial aid and German football association (DFB) president Theo Zwangziger also backed the amalgamation.
"We all belong together," Zwangziger said. "Without Olympic sports sport would be poorer in Germany but we also need the sport federations for the masses."
A president for the new organisation, to be called the DOSB (Deutscher Olympische Sportbund), will be nominated in March and take office when the DFB and NOK formally merge on May 20, 2006 in Frankfurt.