DFL Clubs Commit To Sustainability Through Inclusion In Licensing Criteria


In addition to the inclusion of dialogue with supporters in the DFL’s club licensing criteria, the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs also committed to meeting sustainability criteria.


This essentially means that to participate in Germany’s top two divisions, football clubs must meet set requirements on the matters of environmental, economic and social sustainability. A pilot phase will begin in 2022-23 season, with the licensing being fully implemented for the 2023-24 season.


This is a significant development for clubs to accept responsibility for sustainability. It is understood to be the first time a football league and its clubs have agreed to genuinely commit to three pillars of sustainability through club licensing.


Manuel Gaber, a Co-Organiser of the Under Fussball campaign commented “including mandatory sustainability criteria in the licensing regulations is an important step towards football living up to its social responsibility. The decision is a success for us fans who have long called on football to act more responsibly. Sustainability efforts should no longer be just nice to have but mandatory for all clubs. There is more than enough money for this in the rich football business. Now, it is crucial that the criteria to be developed are ambitious and that clubs make their status quo and goals transparent to all stakeholders.”


Football must take responsibility for its impact on the environment, its communities and ensuring its long term future is secure through sensible financial management. The supporters in Germany must be congratulated for working with the DFL to push through this change, particularly through the ‘Zukunft Profifußball’ initiative.


SD Europe welcomes this move by the DFL because it holds parallels with our sustainability principle! The inclusion of sustainability criteria in club licensing is an action SD Europe has recommended since adopting sustainability as an organisational principle in February 2020. We recommend that UEFA, national associations and leagues should follow a similar path to the DFL by including sustainability - environmental, social and economic - criteria in club licensing


Working in consultation with its members, SD Europe has developed an action plan focusing specifically on environmental sustainability.