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Arena of Change project

Kids' Q&A session with Rummenigge, Lohmann and Sané

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When children of the 'Arena of Change', the new children's aid programme of FC Bayern and SOS Children's Villages worldwide, ask their questions in a digital meeting, it‘s a special occasion - so Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suddenly playfully slipped into the role of Leroy Sané.

Rummenigge demonstrates Sané skill

The FC Bayern CEO used to be a fleet-footed winger himself, so he was able to expertly answer the question about Germany international Sané’s best skill. Rummenigge recreated a match situation on the table in front of him: his water bottle represented the player, the lid the ball. In this way, the 40 kids participating in the call got an idea of how Sané gets around his opponents: feint to the right, take the ball to the left, and past. At the end of the call, there was applause from the pupils who had picked Rummenigge's brains for an hour, as well as that of Sané and Germany international and FC Bayern women's team player Sydney Lohmann. As the pandemic meant that face-to-face contact isn’t yet possible, the children were all the happier that the famous FC Bayern personalities were able to join them online.

The ‘Arena of Change’ project, founded at the beginning of 2021, aims to help strengthen the personal development of 60 girls and boys of different ages from five Munich schools. As with playing football in a team, the aim is for them to have fun while acquiring key skills such as fairness, respect, self-discipline in the areas of sport, art and science and thus discover undreamt-of possibilities for their lives. The Arena of Change is housed in premises on the grounds of the FC Bayern Campus. But due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the educational programme started digitally in March. Since then, learning content has been taught in 90-minute online courses from Monday to Thursday as a basis for the coming time together.

Kids wanted to know everything about FCB

"It's about growing with each other, being amazed at yourself - and learning from professionals," explained the two lead educators Anna Kronen and Teresa Jehlicka. The question and answer session was like the kick-off to a match, in which the children and young people played with joy and an open mind right from the start. "You're right about that," Daniel answered the FC Bayern CEO after marvelling at Rummenigge's rendition of Sané's feint: "That's a really good trick."

Under the guidance of Petra Horn, director of the SOS Children's Villages worldwide, and Teresa and Anna, the kids wanted to know everything about FC Bayern: How do you run a global club? How do you choose the players? Are you nervous before games, Herr Rummenigge? What is your everyday life like, Sydney? Can I have some autographs? Leroy, who’s the best free-kick taker at your club? And the most important question: Can we play together with you sometime?

AoC social education worker Anna Kronen (pictured left) offered a deeper insight: "We want to put values such as fair play and team spirit into practice across the board. To this end, we also address children's rights in our workshops, we'll do sports together, conduct scientific experiments, and programming is also high on the children's agenda. What is special about the cooperation between FC Bayern and SOS Children's Villages worldwide is that we work with children from year three to year eight. Art, culture and sport are the guiding principles. We want to give the children life skills," added her colleague Teresa Jehlicka (pictured right).

As soon as the pandemic situation allows, this will certainly be possible, promised Lohmann and Sané. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge explained: "We’ve not been able to meet physically so far, which is why this digital meeting was particularly important, because the children have to be able to get hold of FC Bayern despite all the distancing rules and hygiene concepts. Children are the future, so we’re happy that we can contribute to making children and young people fit for the future with the ‘Arena of Change’."

Each of the AoC children keeps a happiness diary – as does Petra Horn herself, as she revealed at the end of the call. "I'll write in it today that we had wonderful guests from FC Bayern: Herr Rummenigge, Sydney Lohmann and Leroy Sané.”

FC Bayern München AG and the SOS Children's Villages worldwide signed a multi-year cooperation agreement last year:

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