Statement from the Federal President’s Office:
The seven women and eight men are being rewarded for outstanding achievements. They have helped overcome the coronavirus pandemic, encourage the East and West to come together and help break down prejudices in our society.
Former professional and international footballer Thomas Hitzlsperger already fought for tolerance as well as social, educational and political projects during his career as a player. After becoming the first international footballer in Germany to come out in public in 2014, he helped break taboos surrounding homosexuality in football and sport while contributing to a wide-ranging factual debate on discrimination in sport. Hitzlsperger has been the DFB’s Diversity Ambassador since 2017. He also distinguishes himself with his outstanding volunteer work – for “Gesicht Zeigen! Für ein weltoffenes Deutschland” (Show your face! For an open-minded Germany), the project “Fußball für Vielfalt – Fußball gegen Homophobie und Sexismus” (Football for Diversity – Football against homophobia and sexism) and for township children in South Africa. His efforts show how important it is to break down prejudices in order to live together peacefully in an open society.