It has been around six years since the term “Potas” found its way into German sports politics. Potas, his advocates considered this to be the heart of the competitive sports reform from the very beginning, which should examine all associations down to the last detail in order to define those disciplines with great potential for success – and his opponents as a bureaucratic monster that simply doesn’t need it. Now, six years later, one thing is clear: this potas actually has a special effect.
Because on Monday, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), the most important donors of organized sport, presented the results of the Potas Commission for the 26 summer sports associations. The screening results in a so-called Potas value for each sport – and in a ranking in which the athletes (80.73) came first and the basketball players (46.94) came last. Even more difficult than the bare table is that the BMI and the DOSB both presented a new formula with which they want to calculate the distribution of the funding on the basis of Potas in the future. And this formula is likely to change the German sports landscape in the long term.
The potential analysis of top German sport (Potas) serves as the basis for the allocation of federal sports funding. The ranking list now presented for the summer sports associations includes competition balances from the Olympic Games, squad and talent analyzes and an assessment of the respective association structures.
Potas value in percent
1st German Athletics Association 80.73
2nd German Table Tennis Association 80.40
3. German Equestrian Association 79.40
4th German Canoe Association 78.70
5th German Triathlon Union 76.94
6th German Hockey Association 73.72
7th German Rifle Federation 73.55
8th German Volleyball Association 72.53
9th German Sailing Association 71.40
10th German Swimming Association 70.45
11th German Handball Federation 70.07
12th Federal Association of German Weightlifters 69.84
13th German Association for Modern Pentathlon 69.21
14th German Judo Association 67.82
15th German Badminton Association 65.05
16th German Tennis Association 62.95
17th German Wrestling Association 62.63
18th German Rowing Association 60.31
19th Association of German Cyclists 60.22
20th German Boxing Association 60.02
21st German Rugby Association 57.90
22nd German Golf Association 55.64
23rd German Gymnastics Federation 54.78
24. Deutsche Taekwondo Union 54,73
25th German Fencing Federation 54.37
26th German Basketball Federation 46.94
Of the roughly 250 million euros in the BMI’s sports budget, around 40 million euros go directly to the summer sports associations each year. The front runner in the past few years has been athletics with a little more than five million euros, while the worst performers such as badminton, weightlifting and rugby received around half a million. In future, most of this money is to be distributed across two pillars.
Athletics, table tennis and equestrian sports can look forward to significant increases
In the first pillar, which makes up two thirds of the funding, only the new Potas value is relevant for the calculation – in addition to the previous funding amount. Only in the second pillar is there a variable that is not based on Potas: the performance that the DOSB and the respective professional association expect for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. This means that the Potas front runners such as athletics, table tennis or equestrian sports can look forward to significant increases, the bottom of the range will have to reckon with a minus. “The spread will increase”, said the BMI State Secretary Markus Kerber. The effects for the individual sports would differ by up to 30 percent.
Unlike in the past, the money should not flow for the professional association as a whole, but for its individual disciplines, which is why Potas created a list of the best for associations as well as one for the disciplines. This has a particularly significant effect on the swimmers: The open water resort landed at the top of all 103 disciplines – synchronized swimming came in last. For some disciplines it will be difficult in the future to survive at all.
The individual disciplines in the sports associations were also rated. The top rated disciplines:
1. Open water swimming men 93.54
2. Racing kayak men 86.56
3rd jump women (athletics) 86.31
The worst rated disciplines:
101.Basketball 3×3 women 41.35
102.Basketball 3×3 men 38.01
103. Synchronschwimmen Frauen 30.50
The new distribution formula is also a defeat for the DOSB in a long dispute with the BMI. Six years ago, sport got involved in the competitive sports reform because it was hoping for a premium on its budget – and was getting it. The reason for the conversion was not least a warning from the Federal Audit Office to create an objective and transparent funding system. But the sport has always tried to relativize the importance of Potas. He wanted it to be understood more as an aid than as a binding requirement. The result was a very clear formula. “If you develop the system further, that will be acceptable at some point,” said Dirk Schimmelpfennig, DOSB board member responsible for competitive sports.
“Potas is nonsense,” complains basketball president Ingo Weiss
But because Potas is now influencing the associations’ wallets so significantly, the displeasure with the system and the ranking is immense. “Potas is nonsense, a bureaucracy monster,” said basketball president Ingo Weiss of the news agency sid. The basketball men were last in the quarter-finals in Tokyo, but now the association was 26th and last. He was “not at all surprised”, said Weiss, because he considered the analysis to be “outrageous”.
Potas is perhaps made for individual athletes, but not for team athletes: “Anyone who doesn’t close their pants with a pair of pincers actually has to find out that what Potas says does not correspond to the reality of basketball.” The fencers (25th place) and gymnasts (23rd place) also expressed incomprehension, and even the representatives of the top marks warned against jumping to conclusions. “Due to their partially completely different competitive situations, requirements and needs, the sports can only be compared linearly to a limited extent,” said Athletics General Director Cheick-Idriss Gonschinska.
The creation of the Potas ranking was a very complicated undertaking. A five-person commission headed by the Potsdam sports scientist Urs Granacher worked its way through all associations based on 130 questions, 36 sub-attributes and 13 main attributes, inquired, filled in and weighted. She sorted the whole thing into three main categories, from which she then calculated the Potas value, which indicates the percentage of the associations meeting the requirements.
The simplest category was “Successes” – it was populated with the results of the previous Olympic cycle. The “squad potential” section was even more difficult. The “structure” category, in which the associations had to answer all sorts of questions on topics such as management structure, training control or health management, generated a lot of annoyance.
Already during the creation, many of those in charge cautioned that Potas would reward those who conscientiously fill out all the nonsensical papers. Others felt it was good that strengths and weaknesses were dealt with in a structured manner. In any case, a core problem with the acceptance of Potas is now: Why which association received which evaluation can sometimes not be understood, because the reasons were not published. At the end of the day there is above all a number that helps to decide on a good chunk of money.