March 22, 2017

Union Berlin’s fan house turned into temporary home for refugees

In September Bundesliga 2 club Union Berlin had offered to give up the space originally bought to design a fan house that would include offices for fan projects, a service centre for fans and dining options for the fans of the Iron ones. On Wednesday the city of Berlin announced that it would accept the offer extended to them by the football club.

The space of around 1,200 square meters, formerly used as a supermarket, is now going to house 120 refugees over the cold winter months. Outside the building the city of Berlin is going to provide medical help in a stationary container.

The integration commissioner of Treptow-Köpenick (the part of the city where the building is located), Georg Postler, told German news agency dpa that the refugees would move into their temporary home between the 16th and 20th of November. Postler added that the refugees are going to stay in Union Berlin’s fan house during the cold winter months.

The club and its fans had offered their help in handling the influx of refugees already back in September. Back then the leader of the fan house Sven Mühle told Union’s own website:

“Berlin depends upon on using all options at hand to solve the issue of finding a suitable place for everybody. We have the chance to help through abstaining. Of course, we would have loved to celebrate the opening of our fan house on the club’s 50th birthday in January, but if we can lessen acute misery it’s a given for us that we are going to do just that.”

Club president Dirk Zingler added:

“We can’t influence the stream of refugees or international politics. It’s not our task as a football club. However, we are bound by humanistic core values and here in our city, in our neighbourhood, we can help those who need it. If us making this space readily available prevents the circumvention of just one indoor sports ground into a refuge, I think everybody has been helped.”

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.