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Deutscher Fussball-Bund

The German Football Federation ( or ) is the governing body of football (soccer) in Germany. The founding member of both FIFA and UEFA organises the German football leagues, including the national league, the Fußball-Bundesliga and the Germany national football team and Germany women's national football team national teams. DFB is based in Frankfurt, it is divided into five regional federations with 21 regional organizations.


The DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) was founded in 1900 in Leipzig by representatives of Founding Clubs of the DFB. Germany was represented in Paris when FIFA was founded by seven nations in May 1904, but the time the FIFA statutes came into effect on 1 September, Germany had also joined by Telegram. The DFB consolidated the large number of state-based German regional competitions in play for a single recognized national title.

The role of DFB and its representatives like Felix Linnemann during Nazi Germany was documented in „100 Jahre DFB“ and by Nils Havemann in Fußball unterm Hakenkreuz.. According to Gleichschaltung policy, the DFB, with its large membership from all political sides, and strong regional structures compared to weak national ones, submitted to new rulers and new Gau structures. On a short general meeting on 9 July 1933 in Berlin, the DFB did so, at least formally. Later, the Hitler salute was made compulsory, Marxists and Jews were expelled. A new organization, Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (German Reich League for Physical Exercise), was established and Linnemann was appointed leader of its Fachamt Fußball (Football section) which took over the operational affairs, whereas the DFB lost most of its duties until it was formally dissolved in 1940.

On the pitch, Germany had done well in 1934, but after a 0-2 loss in the 1936 Summer Olympics, with Hitler attending, the DFB and football fell from grace. Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach and Hitlerjugend took over youth football (under 16) from the clubs following a deal with Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten who had been in charge of all sports in Germany since 1933, making DFB officials even more powerless. Germany had made a bid to host the 1938 World Cup, but it was withdrawn without comment.

Following the Anschluss in March 1938 that made Austria part of Germany, the Austrian Football Association became part of the German federation. New coach Sepp Herberger was told on short notice to use also Austrian players in his team, which was eliminated in the first round of the WC, weakening the situation of football within Nazi politics to near meaninglessness. Internationally, Germans and the DFB were still present, with Ivo Schricker serving as General Secretary of FIFA from 1932 to December 1950, four Germans Jakob, Kitzinger, Goldbrunner and Lehner playing in a FIFA friendly in Amsterdam, and two (Albin Kitzinger und Anderl Kupfer) representing FIFA vs. a continental team.

In the aftermath of World War II, the FIFA decided in November 1945 to ban the no longer existing DFB (and Japan) from international competition. This was only changed in 1949 when The Football Association requested FIFA to lift the ban on games. FIFA did so on 7 May 1949, two weeks before the Federal Republic of Germany was founded, requiring permission by the military governments of the time. Due to partition into several occupation zones and states, the DFB was legally re-founded in Stuttgart on 21 January 1950 only by the regional associations in West Germany, without the Saarland Football Association in the French occupied Saar (protectorate), which on 12 June 1950 would be recognized by FIFA as the first of three German FAs after the war. At the FIFA congress held on 22 June prior to the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Swiss Football Association requested that DFB is reinstated with full FIFA membership, which was granted on 22 September 1950 in Bruxelles. The teams of the DFB and the Saarland were squred off in the Qualifiers for the 1954 WC before the Saarland and its FA was permitted to rejoin Germany and the DFB in 1956.

In the early years of the division of Germany, West Germany claimed exclusive mandate of all of Germany. Unlike the IOC, which granted only provisional recognition to the East Germans in 1955, demanding they participate in an All-German team, the FIFA fully recognized the East German Football Association in 1952. Upon reunification in 1990, the Deutscher Fußball Verband der DDR (DFV) was absorbed into the DFB .


Today, about 26,000 clubs are members, fielding 170,000 teams with over 2 million active players and totalling over 6 million members, the largest membership of any single sports federation in the world. DFB has 870,000 female members and 8600 female teams. The DFB is also the richest single sports federation worldwide.

The official mascot is an eagle with black feathers and yellow beak called "Paule" (since 26 March 2006) - maybe an allusion to Paul Breitner.


- Ferdinand Hueppe (1900-1904)
- Friedrich Wilhelm Nohe (1904-1905)
- Gottfried Hinze (1905-1925)
- Felix Linnemann (1925-1945)
- Peco Bauwens (1949-1962)
- Hermann Gösmann (1962-1975)
- Hermann Neuberger (1975-1992)
- Egidius Braun (1992-2001)
- Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder (2001-2004)
- Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder together with Theo Zwanziger (2004-2006)
- Theo Zwanziger (2006-Present)

Regional associations

The DFB in turn is sub-divided into five regional associations, which, again, are also divided into sub-associations, which there are twenty-one of. These associations, in most cases, have their boundaries run along the same lines as the federal German states.

Southern Germany

The Southern German Football Association (German: Süddeutscher Fußball-Verband - SFV) covers the three Southern Germany states of Bavaria, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. The SFV, formed on 17 October 1897 under the name of Verband Süddeutscher Fußball-Vereine, originally administrated the Southern German football championship, until it was dissolved by the Nazis in 1933. Reformed after the Second World War, it operated the Oberliga Süd as its highest league until 1963. In the 2008-09 season, the SFV is in charge of the Regionalliga Süd (IV) for men and women. The league above, the 3rd Liga, is administrated by the DFB, while the leagues below are administrated by the SFV's five regional associations.
- Baden Football Association (Badischer Fußball-Verband - BFV)
- Bavarian Football Association (Bayerischer Fußball-Verband - BFV)
- Hesse Football Association (Hessischer Fußball-Verband - HFV)
- South Baden Football Association (Südbadischer Fußball-Verband - SBFV)
- Württemberg Football Association (Württembergischer Fußball-Verband - WFV)

South Western Germany

The Southwestern German Football Association (German: Fußball-Regional-Verband Südwest - FRVS) was formed after the Second World War in the France occupation zone in Germany. Its highest league until 1963 was the Oberliga Südwest (1945-63). It is subdivided into three regional associations covering two states, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland with the current highest league in the region, the tier-five Oberliga Südwest, administrated by the FRVS:
- Rhineland Football Association (Fußball-Verband Rheinland - FVR)
- Saarland Football Association (Saarländischer Fußball-Verband - SFV)
- Southwest Football Association (Südwestdeutscher Fußball-Verband -SWFV)

Western Germany

The Western German Football and Athletics Association (German: Westdeutscher Fußball- und Leichtathletik Verband - WFV) covers the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is sub-divided into three football associations. The association used to administrate the Western German football championship until 1933. From 1947 to 1963, its highest league was the Oberliga West and, since 2008, the Oberliga Nordrhein-Westfalen is administrated by it. Its three sub-associations are:
- Middle Rhine Football Association (Fußballverband Mittelrhein - FVM)
- Lower Rhine Football Association (Fußballverband Niederrhein - FVN)
- Westphalia Football and Athletics Association (Fußball- und Leichtathletikverband Westfalen - FLVW)

Northern Germany

The Northern German Football Association (German: Norddeutscher Fußball-Verband - NFV) covers the states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and is sub-divided into four football associations. The association used to administrate the Northern German football championship until 1933. From 1947 to 1963, its highest league was the Oberliga Nord (1947-63), which, intermidently, existed again from 1974 to 2008. Its four sub-associations are:
- Bremen Football Association (Bremer Fußball-Verband - BFV)
- Hamburg Football Association (Hamburger Fußball-Verband - HFV)
- Lower Saxony Football Association (Niedersächsischer Fußball-Verband - NFV)
- Schleswig-Holstein Football Association Schleswig-Holsteinischer Fußball-Verband - SHFV)

North Eastern Germany

The North Eastern German Football Association (German: Nordostdeutscher Fußball-Verband - NOFV) is the youngest of the five regional associations, having been formed after the German reunion in 1990. It administrates the two tier-five NOFV-Oberligas, NOFV-Oberliga Nord and NOFV-Oberliga Süd. It covers the federal states of Brandenburg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. Each of these six states has their own football association:
- Brandenburg Football Association (Fußballlandes-Verband Brandenburg - FLB)
- Berlin Football Association (Berliner Fußball-Verband - BFV)
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Football Association (Landesfußball-Verband Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - LFVM)
- Saxony Football Association (Sächsischer Fußball-Verband - SFV)
- Saxony-Anhalt Football Association (Fußball-Verband Sachsen-Anhalt - FSA)
- Thuringia Football Association (Thüringer Fußball-Verband - TFV)

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