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An amateur ( French , from Latin amator , 'lover') is a person who - in contrast to a professional - pursues an activity out of hobby without turning it into a profession or receiving money for their work. An amateur is a layperson ( Greek λαός laós 'people' via λαϊκός laikós ' belonging to the people' and church Latin laicus the ' (ecclesiastical) layman ') and is not formally trained for his work, in contrast to the specialist (“ those trained in the subject ").

The term says little about the expertise of amateurs, which may well be of a professional level. In contrast, the term “amateurish” is used derogatory in the sense of “not on a professional level”. For this reason, the term “ semi-professionalism ” is often used to describe a performance performed as an amateur but still to be regarded as professional .



The development of basic communication skills is a fundamental requirement for every person in the context of their personal development. Since few people professionally in detail with the professionalization of their communication skills to deal, they remain mostly communication laity - in the field of interpersonal communication , the expert-layperson communication or public communication .

In the latter area, for example, it is characteristic of communication laypeople that they do not distinguish between the systems of everyday journalism such as public relations , propaganda , advertising or journalism . Since the journalism system of journalism presents other, competing systems of everyday journalism, such as public relations, vaguely and often negatively, this is reflected in public opinion .


Amateur music is understood to be music performances by musical laypeople who, often on the basis of approaches to instrument training, are presented to an audience that is aware of the amateur status of the performance. The experience value usually seems to take precedence over the aesthetic value. Differentiation can be made to the terms utility music , applied music, popular music, amateur music , commercial music, muzak , for example functional music .

The public performance of music subject to GEMA is notifiable there and gives rise to license fees, regardless of whether it is performances by amateurs or performances by professional musicians. There are funding guidelines for amateur music in Germany, which are based on the activities of the relevant associations.


In pornography , “amateur” refers to a person who publishes (among other things) a pornographic representation of himself (Internet, print media). As a rule, these so-called “amateur actors” do not pursue any primary financial interests. A side income is accepted more and more often with increasing interest.



In sport , the term amateur is often vague for outsiders and therefore sometimes gives rise to criticism. Only with the introduction of the Olympic Games in 1894 was an attempt at international standardization made. However, this was doomed to failure, as the desire of the states to win as many medals as possible led to strange auxiliary structures. The amateur status has long been a prerequisite for participation in the Olympic Games. Certain well-known tennis tournaments such as the Wimbledon Championships were initially only permitted for amateurs. The establishment of branch associations and clubs such as the Association of German Tennis Teachers (VDT) in 1911 led to professionalization. In many sports, the official division into professionals and amateurs is not always clear, and conflicts often arise - especially with regard to admission to competitions. Successful amateurs try to earn a living as physical education teachers, whereby the gap between freelancers and permanent employees is very large. Most football championships distinguish between contract amateurs and contract professionals. The limit is based on salary, a contract amateur either has no salary or one that is too low for a living.


In German football , the second teams of the contract or licensed clubs (for men) were declared as "amateurs" until 2005, although many players had long since financed their livelihood or part of it through the sport. During the Cold War , the term amateur led to criticism in the West in the socialist countries ( see also: State amateur ). In Germany there are still three categories of football: licensed and contract players and amateurs. The previous rule, according to which licensed and contract players were only allowed to play in “their” leagues, but not in lower-class (amateur) teams, is in principle in the DFB rules of play, i. H. with certain restrictions for the lower teams of the professional clubs, canceled. Conversely, there is a limit to the number of (contract) amateurs who may be used in a championship game of the professionals.

According to the judgment of the Federal Fiscal Court of October 23, 1992, amateur players can also be classified as employees of a football club . If this happens, the result is that an affected player has to pay tax on the remuneration paid by the club as wages according to Section 19 (1 ) of the Income Tax Act . Whether an amateur player is to be classified as an employee must be determined in each individual case based on the overall picture of the circumstances.

In favor of a classification as an employee, “an athlete receives payments in connection with his activity which are not only slightly higher than the expenses incurred. Then the conclusion is justified that the sport is no longer pursued purely out of hobby, but also for the sake of payment ”. If the remuneration exceeds the actual expenses (mainly travel expenses and sportswear including football boots), this speaks for the existence of the employee status. Another criterion for this is that they are bound by instructions : If the agreement between the club and the player gives rise to obligations, such as B. the obligation to participate in games and training according to the instructions of the club, this also speaks for the quality of an employee. Finally, for this overall consideration, it must also be taken into account whether the player - as is usual with employees - will continue to be paid wages in the event of illness (or injury). Such continued remuneration exists, for example, if the player is paid a monthly basic remuneration and not just a “ cumulative bonus ”.

Other sports

In tennis, tendencies towards a separation between amateur and professional sport became apparent very early on . In 1920 the international tennis federation ILTF introduced a regulation: From now on the players could only claim reimbursement for travel expenses and expenses at tournaments and that initially only for eight weeks of a year.

While the previously strict distinction between amateurs and professionals in cycling was abolished in the 1990s with the introduction of the standard license, this differentiation continues in the non-Olympic sports of golf and dancing . In boxing , the Olympic amateur boxing and professional boxing can be referred to as different sports due to the widely differing competition rules and the completely separate association structure. The most noticeable differences are still in the United States today , where college athletes are banned from taking any side income from sport if they want to compete in college. Since they are here by the z. Sometimes very high tuition fees are exempted and full board through a scholarship, there is a cross-subsidization of the sports with few spectators by the spectator sports. Since college sports can be the entry point to a lucrative professional career, the college amateur principle is controversial, but so far (2013) it has withstood all judicial reviews. This form of cross-subsidy is considered a modern form of slavery , as African-Americans are in the majority in the spectator sports American football and basketball , but in the subsidized sports (e.g. swimming , rowing ) the white Americans clearly dominate.


Committed amateurs also play an important role in the field of theater and cabaret . In contrast to amateur theater (example: a football club stages a Christmas game), there are certainly actors in amateur theater who have well-founded training but do not carry out their work professionally. However, it is precisely in this area that amateur and amateur stages are often mixed up or confused.



Amateur astronomers can enjoy great recognition.


In the area of ​​the amateur radio service , participants call themselves radio amateurs rather than amateur radio operators in order to counter the aforementioned devaluation by the term amateur. The former is also the term defined by the German Amateur Radio Act . Radio amateurs also contribute to scientific development, especially in the field of radio technology . In addition to working in the field of radio and electrical engineering, many of them are also engaged in amateur radio or have found a corresponding profession through this hobby .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Amateur  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Manfred Rühl : For Public Relations? A bouquet of theories from the field of communication studies! In: Ulrike Röttger (Ed.): Theory of Public Relations. Wiesbaden 2009, p. 72f.
  2. Katharina Kerl: The image of public relations in the reporting of selected German print media. A quantitative content analysis . Munich 2007, p. 137ff. (PDF)
  3. GEMA. Regen Arberland district, accessed January 28, 2017 .
  4. Funding guidelines for amateur music ( memento from April 26, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) at (PDF)
  5. Forum II Trossingen amateur music at (PDF)
  6. Arnd Krüger : The role of the amateur question at the Olympic Congress 1894 , in: Sportzeiten 4 (2004), 2, pp. 49-68.
  7. Association of German Tennis Teachers e. V.
  8. a b BFH judgment of October 23, 1992 (VI R 59/91) BStBl. 1993 II p. 303 ; Retrieved July 2, 2014.
  9. ^ History. International Tennis Federation, accessed August 31, 2013 .
  10. Arnd Krüger (2014): U23 , in: Leistungssport 44 (2014), 1, pp. 34–36.
  11. Venus in focus: recognition for amateur recordings, intensive parallel campaign for the MESSENGER flyby