Refugees and sports clubs – frequently asked questions
Is there anything to pay particular attention to with regard to refugees?
Yes, particular attention should be paid to the status of refugees. On the one hand, there are the asylum seekers with a temporary residence permit and whose asylum procedure has not yet been definitively concluded. With this status, there may be limitations, for example, in terms of employment and freedom of movement. Then there are the recognised refugees with temporary or permanent residence permits, for whom limitations usually – at least at that moment – no longer apply. People whose application for asylum was rejected, but who for specific reasons cannot be deported, receive a Duldung (suspension of deportation). Asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected and for whom no reasons exist which preclude deportation must, in principle, return to their home countries.
Do refugees have to be members of the association in order to be able to participate in sports activities?
The answer is, as so often: it depends! If the statutes allow only club members to participate in sports, the refugees have to become members. The same applies if they want to participate in club competitions. Here, the regulations of the professional clubs often provide that only club member athletes have a right to participate.
Can refugees temporarily join the club?
Again, it depends on what the statutes govern. If this provides for temporary membership, this can also be granted to refugees. However, temporary memberships are not without problems. Do temporary members have the same rights as ordinary members? What are the rules concerning temporary membership? How is income from contributions handled? Here, the clubs should make use in advance of the advisory services of Landessportbund North Rhine-Westphalia.
Can refugees join without paying contributions?
In German association law, the principle of equal treatment applies: in principle, all members should be treated equally. A differentiation on objective grounds is possible, however. So different contribution groups can be formed and discounts for certain groups can be granted. In the statutes, it is often stated that, for example, the board can wholly or partially remove contributions in cases of hardship. This scheme, however, is intended for individual cases and may not be sufficient to making things easier for larger membership groups with respect to the statutes and membership fee regulations.
Can children and young people benefit from the education and participation package?
Children and young people who themselves or whose parents receive benefits under Germany’s Asylum Seekers Benefits Act can receive grants of up to ten euros per month for membership in a sports club or for taking up sports opportunities. The people in question and/or club representatives should get in touch with the competent municipality, because the job centre is in this case not responsible.
What must be taken into consideration with respect to underage refugees?
Refugees who are minors and who arrived without their parents are provided with a guardian to act as a legal representative. As the guardian takes on the legal role of the parents, all legally important steps must be agreed with this person. This means that for applying to membership in a club or for applying for a player passport, this person’s agreement is required. In addition, however, everyday concerns are also to be discussed with this person, such as the participation of underage refugees in excursions. In many cases, statutes contain the regulation that the legal representatives undertake responsibility for contribution arrears for the length of the membership of the child, until the child reaches legal age. Usually, the legally appointed guardian will not be prepared to do this.