Eintracht Frankfurt have been awarded the PEGASOS prize in the “Sportsmen with heart“ category. The presentation will take place during the 40th Deutscher SportpresseBall at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt on Saturday 5 November, with some of the squad in attendance.
The reason for the honour is not just the fact that Eintracht won the UEFA Europa League on 18 May but also the manner in which they brought about the club’s first European success for 42 years: with heart, passion and strength of will. Or as CEO Axel Hellmann put it during the Römer reception on the next day: “We pushed limits and brought the romance back to football as a result.”
Over 100,000 people on the streets of Frankfurt created pictures that will last forever. Millions of television viewers witnessed a togetherness which led the Hessians, in unison with their supporters, to 13 games without defeat on the road to Seville. One by one, Real Betis, Barcelona, West Ham United and Rangers were defeated in the knockout stage.
Off the pitch, too, the tradition-steeped club did not shy away from uncomfortable issues, positioning itself publicly and unequivocally against all forms of racism and antisemitism. In addition, there were relief efforts at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and the current support for the people in Ukraine.
Martina Knief, chairwoman of the Frankfurt Sports Press Association, believes that the honour properly acknowledges the magic of the Europa League triumph once again: “The opponents were strong, but with the white wall of fans behind them they achieved the impossible on the way to and in Andalusia. Rangers were beaten in a battle of two historic clubs. The fans carried Eintracht.”
André Keil, president of the Association of German Sports Journalists, also underlined the impact of this success. “For me, Eintracht have played a big part in bringing the joy back to football stadiums. The club stands for much more than football, though. The German Sport Fair Play Award went to president Peter Fischer this year for the consistent stand against racism – that’s also what Eintracht are about. Eintracht Frankfurt have set important examples for the whole of German football.”
The Deutscher SportpresseBall
The Deutscher SportpresseBall is organised by the Association of German Sports Journalists, the Frankfurt Sports Press Association and the metropress communications agency. This major social event has been one of the highlights of the ball season since 1981 and, with 2,300 guests, is the largest ball in Germany.