Germany, land of horses, world power of riders. And yet here the horse is again and again put before from behind. The budget committee of the Bundestag has just taken the reins of Nancy Faeser, the Minister of the Interior, in the reform of the financing and management of elite sport. The so-called Independent Agency, which she wants to create for this purpose, will not come anytime soon.

Of the money earmarked for the foundation next year, 600,000 euros, only a third is in the budget, and that is only for consideration. The ministry will only be granted access as soon as space has been created for representatives of parliament in the supervisory bodies, which was not previously envisaged. The householders took the opportunity to impose a number of other conditions.

Since Thomas de Maizière demanded a third more medals in the F.A.Z. in 2015 in return for the increase in top-class sports funding by his institution, sport and the Ministry of the Interior have been struggling through the course of a top-class sports reform. Whether the sport was successful depends on the scale.

Fist in pocket

At the Olympic Games, from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2021, there was a decline in medals: from 42, including 17 gold, to 37 and 10 respectively. Medal counters without any sense of the intensified anti-doping fight in Germany speak of the decline since the golden days of Barcelona in 1992, when the young united team achieved 33 Olympic victories and 82 medals, more than those of Rio and Tokyo combined. One success for sport is that funding from the Ministry of the Interior alone has almost tripled since de Maizière cracked the whip, to a good 300 million euros.

In the meantime, Nancy Faeser is in the saddle. She wanted to gallop away the most difficult obstacles: de-bureaucratization, potential-oriented funding, concentration of athletes as well as financial resources, upswing through a sports promotion law. Now, it will probably not come to anything with the start of the agency's work before the 2025 federal elections. What will become of their agreements with politicians?

Year Eight of the Reform

Some make no secret of their expectation that the government will discipline the member of parliament from the governing SPD faction who gave them the penalty rounds. However, they underestimate the cohesion of parliamentarians. They will insist that the objectives of the reform must first be defined. This has long been in the hands of the German Olympic Sports Confederation and the athletes' representation Athleten Deutschland. The discussion is scheduled to begin next year.

In the eighth year of the reform, this important debate slips from the end to where it belongs: to the beginning of the process. Finally, it will be discussed whether the state's promotion of top-level sports in Germany should be aimed solely at the medal table. Whether it should not rather serve to convey a national or social identity, integration, the conveyance of motivation and fairness.

And whether it should not first serve as a role model with the effect of attracting people to sport and contributing to health promotion. Fifteen months ago, in August 2022, all this stimulated Athleten Deutschland with the analysis: "Why is it worth it to us?" Sportsmen and women are calling for a new social contract to promote them.

No, it is not the case that a single member of parliament is stung: the demand for a contemporary legitimation of state funding is not the horse's foot of top-class sport.