Planet Rugby

Letter of the Week

15th May 2014 17:48

Share:

Planet Rugby mail

Got an opinion? Mail us!

Our readers are never short of an opinion and our mailbox is seldom empty. This week, an angry parent lets the German Rugby Federation have it!

Got an opinion? We'd like to hear it, so why not send us an email HERE.

Something is rotten in the state of Germany
By an Angry Parent

I have read with interest your and other sites' coverage of the German national team's rise and rise, to the stage where the team is on the brink of the World Cup, with interest. I am very happy our national team is doing so well. Hopefully now we can get people to see the bigger picture as well, see how appallingly stuck in their bureaucratic ways the federation is, and see how hundreds of German rugby-playing children are being let down by their governing body.

There is a reason the national coach is scouring countries outside of Germany for players of German heritage, and that reason can be traced back to the national league, its reforms, some of its participants and particularly the administration.

I will not go on about the national league at senior level too much. A league hegemonized by two professional teams out of, where teams regularly beat others by a hundred points, where several games this season were either cancelled or called off because one team had too few players... that all speaks for itself. The league drags on and on, continuously changing dates for no good reason, forcing people to change plans, holidays, family. And the federation wonders why there are no sponsors or spectators.

But adults can be persuaded, can be patient, can attempt to understand, can make plans.

Children cannot.

The reason I write this letter is that the German Federation is currently in lockdown, having refused an entire club, and several teams from other clubs, entry to the national youth team championships - at U12, U14, and U16 level. These are due to take place in late May.

The reason for the refusal is that the applications for player passes were made late.

Let's be very clear, we are talking about children here. These are not people who can flit from club to club, not people who receive boot money, not people who will pop over from overseas to play a tournament. These are children - and in German children's rugby, there is only one meaningful competition every year. This is it. For some kids from more isolated clubs, who train conscientiously all year round, even through the brutal German winter, this is the only competition they will play in where they get a chance to go mano a mano with others as talented as they.

For administrative reasons, this is being denied.

What administrative reasons? Well, as said, the application for passes was made late. In many cases, this is an application that can be dealt with by looking at a pass from last season, stamping 'approved, 2014/15' on it, and sending it back. The cutoff date for pass applications is December 31, five months before the tournament itself. A lot can happen in five months. The reason the date is so early, relative to the tournament (May 24 this year) is apparently to stop clubs joining together to form one team... but that has no relevance to any of the clubs in the current situation.

Alright, there's a date. And responsibility needs to be taken at the club or clubs in question. And administrative fines can be paid, even to employ a cockatoo with a strong beak to help with the pass-stamping. But to stop children playing at all? What?

And stressed? Excuse me? Are the parents who drive the children to and from training, to and from games, paying the money for tours and equipment also not stressed? The whole year round? Are the managers of teams, who also do full-time jobs and have families of their own also not stressed? The coaches likewise? And yet some anonymous bureaucratic lackey cannot give permission to stamp a few passes and send them back, or enter the names into an excel sheet?

What a waste of everyone's time. And the children, now, are suffering, exactly the generation German rugby needs not to suffer if they are to stop having to scour foreign shores for the next generation of national players - one of the national coach's longer-term ambitions.

The clubs involved expected to be fined, are happy even to contribute fines as a way of swelling what we are told are perpetually empty federation coffers.

But to deny the children a chance to play? This cannot be right. What is a rugby governing body here for if it is not to facilitate young men and boys to play rugby?

So we ask now for public support from all over the globe, to please at least let the German Federation see the error of its ways, to fine the club in whatever hefty measure it feels appropriate, but please for God's sake, let children play rugby.

Yours in rugby, a deeply disappointed parent of an inconsolable 13-year-old, who is considering giving up the game and hasn't been training for a week. And I wouldn't blame him, I would blame the Federation.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00