Professional sport

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
" Sport " glass mosaic by Eduard Bargheer (1962/1963) next to the south entrance of the HDI-Arena in Hanover .

In professional sport , also known as professional sport , an athlete receives income from practicing his sport , from which he can earn his living . So he practices the sport professionally . Such athletes are called professional athletes or professional athletes . The income can be achieved, for example, through fixed salaries , bonuses , prize money , advertising contracts , patronage , sponsorship or other donations, such as sports aid . Professional sport is always competitive sport .

In contrast to the professional athlete , the amateur athlete receives no income for his sporting activity, or the income is too low to support himself. The transitions between amateur and professional sports are fluid. Harald Fischer therefore differentiated between sport as an opportunity to earn a living and sport as a supply opportunity when he analyzed the professionalization process in basketball in Germany . In the past, only in socialist countries, or when athletes were released or supported as state employees for sports activities like sports soldiers or state amateurs , this is now the case worldwide, since the state sees itself represented by top-class sport.

For some sports it has been determined when it is a professional sport, but there are de facto significant deviations. For example, professional football in Germany is officially played in three divisions ( Bundesliga , 2nd Bundesliga and 3rd league ). However, this does not rule out that, for example, in the regional and major football leagues, player salaries are possible that are paid exclusively for the purpose of living or, on the other hand, amateurs also play in the professional classes. Mixed forms of professional and amateur athletes ("semi-professionals") are, for example, part-time employment and a sports career or player-trainer . In many cases, amateur and professional sports can no longer be clearly distinguished.

Professional athletes have been active in almost all areas of competitive sport since the professionalization of sport. While professional athletes were the rule in sports such as football, baseball , boxing, cycling or tennis even before 1980, professionals only emerged in the “classic” Olympic sports from the 1980s. In the context of the ever advancing professionalization of sport, professional athletes can now also be found in the field of fringe sports .

If an athlete opts for professional sport, he can not participate in normal working life because of the daily training that is necessary in most cases . On the other hand, he would like to have secured his livelihood in the long term. What makes it more difficult is that, in terms of time, performance in most sports is considerably shorter than the ability to work in normal professional life. The top athlete depends on donors who support and encourage him financially.

History of professional sport

The idea that you should n't make money from your sport arose in English public schools in the last third of the 19th century. Some of the fighters in medieval tournaments were professionals. Boxing was a professional sport in the 18th and 19th centuries, and rowing was done by professionals and amateurs in the 19th century

After the Second World War , there was massive resistance to the commercialization of sport in Germany . The amateur sport, organized by clubs and associations, was hyped up or idealized as a counterpoint to the business world with work, profession, earning money and rational calculation. With the striving for top performance, these ideals and models could less and less be kept. The demand for more performance inevitably means more investments in training time, trainers, support staff and sports equipment. The resulting cost pressure forced the clubs and associations to increasingly commercialize them. Athletes could only cope with the training program as professionals. State amateurs and sports soldiers are special forms of professionalization, the former amateur athletes, with state help. Another example is sports aid . From the 1970s onwards, sport was more and more influenced and co-opted by the economy and the forces of the market. With the start of private television in Germany in 1984, this process was accelerated even further. As a result, the amateur ideals were dissolved and the advertising guidelines (bans) considerably liberalized. Professional athletes are used economically by the economy.

Olympic games

Karl Schranz was excluded from the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo by IOC President Avery Brundage after violating the amateur statutes at the time.

In the Olympic sports , from the beginning of the modern Olympic Games, the amateur idea from Pierre de Coubertin to Avery Brundage was a central element of the Olympic Charter . Brundage was an uncompromising advocate of amateur status to the last. Athletes, such as the Austrian skier Karl Schranz , were banned from the Olympic Games for violating the amateur law. Professional athletes - according to the way of thinking at the time - create an unfair advantage over amateurs because they have other training options as professional athletes. The IOC presidents who followed Brundage relaxed the amateur regulations little by little. In 1981 the amateur paragraph was initially only changed in Baden-Baden , then dropped completely in Lausanne in 1986 . The fact that many sports based their regulations on the Olympic Charter influenced large parts of the sport and provided a basis for professional sport.


In 1922 the DFB spoke out clearly in favor of amateur sport and in the following year condemned profitability as a "phenomenon of decline". The opponents of professional sport came from all important political camps. The bourgeois camp saw amateur sport as the ideal with a unifying character in international competitions. The Völkische Movement saw sport only as a means of physical exercise - especially for military service - and the workers' sports movement was fundamentally against professional sport. As a result, forms of “sham amateurism” developed. In 1930 14 Schalke 04 players were declared professional athletes and banned. The pressure on the DFB increased further and the association decided to introduce professional football in 1932 . However, these plans were with the takeover of the Nazis in January 1933 and adopted shortly after DC circuit laws are not implemented. In Austria, however, there was much earlier professionalization in football: SC Hakoah Vienna became the first Austrian professional champions in 1925. With the connection of Austria 1938 professional football in Austria was then crushed.


In tennis , on the other hand, there was a clear tendency towards a separation between amateur and professional sports. The first approaches to this can be found in Dublin and London as early as the 19th century . In 1911 the Association of German Tennis Teachers (VDT) was founded as a professional association . Karel Koželuh and Roman Najuch were among the first professional players. At the international level, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was founded in 1972 and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) in 1973.


As early as 1974, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in the Walrave and Koch case that professional sport as an economic activity is subject to the EC Treaty. With the Bosman decision in 1995, the judges of the ECJ largely put professional clubs on a par with companies . The court sees “real amateur sport” when the exercise of sport does not constitute an economic activity. Direct and indirect consideration in financial form is missing or is insignificant in scope. In Germany, professional athletes fall under Article 12 of the Basic Law (free choice of profession, job and training place). As an employee, you are entitled to unemployment benefit .


One of the original ideas of sport was to promote health . In professional sport or, more generally, in competitive sport, according to some critics, this threatens to turn into the opposite. On the other hand, professional sport has meanwhile become an important economic factor in many countries with billions in sales, with which a large number of jobs are directly and indirectly linked.

Ethical aspects

In its original direction, sport was a counterbalance and balance to the materialistic world of work. With the commercialization - so the critics - the idea of fair play has been lost. Material things would be in the foreground. Professional athletes would be unsuitable as role models for amaterial, purely performance-related thinking and acting. Professional sport would no longer be an antithesis to the materialistic world of performance. Professional sport has become part of this world of performance.

Medical aspects

Due to the pressure to perform, injuries are often not sufficiently cured. Commercially oriented competition plans, with an increasing number of national and international competitions, do not allow sufficient regeneration of the athletes in many cases. The commercialization of sport is at the expense of athletes' health.

In sports in which individual performance can be measured and compared, personal performance also determines the market value of the athlete and thus his income. The temptation to improve one's own performance through illegal measures such as doping agents is correspondingly high.

Professional athletes belong to the professional group with the highest accident frequency.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Harald Fischer: Sport and business. Professionalization in sport. Bartels & Wernitz, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-87039-077-8 .
  2. ^ Arnd Krüger : On the origin of the notion that sports serves as a means of national representation. In: History of European Ideas. 1993, 16: 4-6, pp. 863-869.
  3. M. Schäflein: The great ditch. ( Memento of the original from September 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. April 16, 2008. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. F.-C. Schroeder, Hans Kauffmann: Sport and Law. Walter de Gruyter, 1972, ISBN 3-11-004191-X , p. 9. Limited preview in the Google book search
  5. A. Scherwolfe: Remuneration of professional athletes. Grin Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-640-75610-0 .
  6. John M. Carter: Sports History in Medieval Biographies. William Marshal (ca.1146-1219). In: Arnd Krüger , Bernd Wedemeyer-Kolwe (Hrsg.): Learn sports history from biographies. Festschrift for the 90th birthday of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Henze. Lower Saxony Institute for Sports History, Hoya 2000, ISBN 3-932423-07-0 , pp. 67–78.
  7. ^ Gems, Gerald R. Boxing: A Concise History of the Sweet Science. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.
  8. Dave Day, Samantha-Jayne Oldfield: Delineating professional and amateur athletic bodies in Victorian England. In: Sport in history. Volume 35, No. 1, 2015, pp. 19-45.
  9. A. Mätzler: The international organizational structures in top-class sport and the rules of the sports associations. (PDF; 1.3 MB) Dissertation. University of Vienna, 2009.
  10. S. Brandmaier, P. Schimany: The commercialization of sport. LIT Verlag, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-8258-3718-1 , p. 25f. limited preview in Google Book search
  11. S. Eassom: Critical Reflections on Olympic Ideology. International Center for Olympic Studies, London (Ontario) 1994, ISBN 0-7714-1697-0 .
  12. ^ K. Heinemann: Sports Science Lexicon. P. Röthig and R. Prohl (eds.), 7th edition. Schorndorf, 2003, p. 298.
  13. A. Hahn, M. Schleiflinger: Utilization concepts. (PDF; 2.4 MB) Vienna University of Technology, August 2003.
  16. Caroline Seebohm: Little Pancho: The Life of Tennis Legend Pancho Segura , University of Nebraska Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8032-2041-6 , page 40
  17. Judgment of the Court of Justice of December 12, 1974. , accessed on March 30, 2010 .
  18. ^ A b D. Monheim: Sports rights and sports courts in the light of the rule of law - on the way to a federal sports court. Herbert Utz Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-8316-0654-4 , p. 67f. limited preview in Google Book search
  19. ^ A b W. Hollmann, HK Strüder: Sports medicine: Basics of physical activity, training and preventive medicine. Schattauer Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-7945-2546-1 , p. 10f restricted preview in the Google book search
  20. L. Figura: Doping: Between the right to freedom and the necessary prohibition. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-89899-429-3 limited preview in Google book search
  21. Accident insurance for professional athletes through HM-Sports.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved March 29, 2010.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /