• Many celebrities at the 10th anniversary

  • Jochen Figge just ahead of Franco Foda and Dr Carolin Braun

  • Reiner Calmund gave the laudatory speech for Franz Beckenbauer, who received the honorary award for his lifetime achievement

This year’s 10th anniversary of the award ceremony of the non-profit association Deutscher Fußball Botschafter e.V. was once again celebrated with numerous celebrities at the Federal Foreign Office. The first award of the evening went to Manchester City’s Ilkay Gündogan, who won the Public Award 2022 in an online vote by international football fans ahead of Sarah Däbritz (Paris Saint-Germain) and Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).

Gündogan thanked everyone who voted for him, saying: “It’s a great honour and privilege, but also see the responsibility to continue my work off the pitch.”

The honorary award then went to the legend Franz Beckenbauer, who was honoured for his life’s work. World champion as a player and coach, countless other titles and then bringing the summer fairytale to Germany, which was to completely change Germany’s external image. But Franz Beckenbauer has also been involved in the social sector with his foundation for 40 years. The winner thanked him via video, as he could not be there in person due to the stress of travelling. Heidrun Beckenbauer accepted the award on behalf of her husband from Reiner Calmund, who also gave the laudatory speech.

In addition, a portrait by the painter Flör was presented, which complements the art campaign “Champs for Charity”, which was presented for the first time at last year’s award ceremony with the support of Berti Vogts, Bernd Schuster or Uli Hoeneß.

Before the main category was awarded, the painter Ivan Beslic, who most recently portrayed Kylian Mbappé and Christiano Ronaldo, presented an original work with the football ambassador’s logo, the world record holder in football freestyle, Mo Jamal, gave a demonstration of his skills and the Walk&Give project was presented together with football ambassador of 2020, Anja Zivkovic – a nationwide fundraising running campaign.

Another highlight was the panel discussion on “Female Empowerment” moderated by Dr. Norbert Taubken (Partner at Scholz & Friends Reputation), where strong women such as the reigning Miss Germany Domitila Barros or the football ambassador of 2014, Monika Staab and nominated coach of 2019, Petra Landers, discussed together.

In the final main category, Jochen Figge, who worked abroad for forty years, prevailed over former coach of the Austrian national team Franco Foda, as well as coach Dr Carolin Braun, who previously worked in Botswana. All three nominees, who prevailed against dozens of competitors in the run-up to the event, were there in person in Berlin. The high-calibre jury did not have an easy choice, as the chosen ones were convincing in different ways, but all of them were successful.

Dr. Carolin Braun was convincing for several years in a long-term project in Botswana, where her prize money also goes to a social cause. Franco Foda, who has celebrated great successes with Graz and the Austrian national team for twenty years, decided to donate the prize money to the organisation Special Olympics Austria, where he was already involved before.

Jochen Figge has been working abroad for four decades and has coached numerous national teams, among others, until Corona put an end to his last engagement in Belize. So his prize money also goes there, to a project led by former national goalkeeper Shane Orio. He was modest and happy: “The nomination was already a great honour for me – I’m really happy about the award.”

It was also clear this year that the club is now a football ambassador family. In addition to the personalities from the world of football, there were not only numerous ambassadors from other countries or top representatives from associations and clubs, but also athletes from other disciplines, most notably three-time Olympic champion Maria Höfl-Riesch.

The president of Deutscher Fußball Botschafter e.V., Roland Bischof, concluded the evening with the words: “It makes me very proud what we have built up over the last ten years.”