The Bavarian Triathlon Association (BTV – Bayerischen Triathlon Verband) is currently experiencing major unrest, following the exclusion of the BTV from Germany’s national governing body, the Deutsche Triathlon Union (DTU).
In recent weeks, the BTV has reportedly been excluded from the DTU following a financial dispute over the annual sum of €15000, for the last few years, which is understood to be due to DTU adding up to an estimated €50000.
This disputed amount is for triathletes in Bavaria; those athletes that are not members of the BTV but are counted and submitted via local sports clubs to the state sports associations (Landessportbund Bayern).
According to a report by triathlon blog DNF Is No Option, there has been a struggle for ‘more openness, transparency and a democratic culture of debate within the BTV.’ Certain members of the regional triathlon association have reportedly aired their scepticism about the leadership of current BTV President Peter Pfaff.
Meanwhile, the elected representatives of two large districts within the BTV are understood to have ‘more or less openly stood against the re-election of Peter Pfaff.’
With elections for the presidency of BTV looming in mid-October, and with the BTV in an on-going dispute with the DTU, the current situation is causing much unrest across the clubs and regional associations in key areas, such as Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria) and Mittelfranken.
As DNF Is No Option points out, the ‘massive communication deficit’ at the top of BTV has wider implications for triathlon in Germany. Debates have escalated about leadership communication styles and the continuing dispute with the Deutsche Triathlon Union.
The Deutsche Triathlon Union is built up of a number of national/regional associations. At more than 50,000 members in 2012, overall membership of the German association has gone from strength to strength – up more than 55% on 2009 membership levels.
The continued strength of triathlon in Germany does rely on harmony between the many clubs, national/regional associations and the national governing body – the DTU. Ultimately, the top-level disputes amongst clubs and associations are unsettling for grass roots triathletes – and do not serve the future growth of the sport of triathlon in the country.