Most professional soccer clubs encrust themselves in a thick, corporate veneer — the pursuit of “neutrality” their guiding principle. But FC St. Pauli is different.
The club, which competes in the 2. Bundesliga, is regarded for its commitment to social justice, inclusion and progressive values. It may be the most socially conscious soccer club in the world. And its supporters here in New York City uphold that mission.
On Sunday, FC St. Pauli NYC donated $1560 to the Immigrant Defense Project, an organization that champions the rights of immigrants caught up in the deportation machine. The East River Pirates also support the Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli foundation, which funds clean drinking water projects in developing countries.
According to the supporters’ club’s website, fans gather at East River Bar in Williamsburg to “watch FCSP matches tape-delayed in convivial camaraderie while upholding the proud St. Pauli tradition of standing firmly against racism, sexism, homophobia, and fascism.”
FC St. Pauli NYC’s fundraiser reflects the activist spirit that has attracted like-minded fans from around the world.
The main club has hosted free legal clinics and social services for refugees inside its Hamburg stadium.
The club also sponsors FC Lampedusa, a Hamburg-based team made up of North African refugees who were stuck at Italy’s Lampedusa Island refugee camp.
“FC Lampedusa Hamburg wants to create awareness and draw attention to the evils of European refugee policy and the situation of refugees in Hamburg, in Germany, and in the wider European Community,” says the club’s website.
In Yorkshire, England, the local St. Pauli’s supporters’ club established the Football for All program to purchase kits, boots, and shinguards for more than 160 participants, mostly immigrants and refugees in the Leeds area.