Dhe center of power measures less than 15 square meters and is simply and functionally furnished. “That’s enough,” says the lady of the house. “I don’t value status symbols or big offices,” says Julia Frauendorf, 32, a member of the board of the German Volleyball Association (DVV).
She has been in office since February 2022. Since the end of 2022 as the sole decision-maker. The DVV presidium around President René Hecht had previously decided to part with the second board member, Bernd Janssen. The reason given was different ideas on the topics of finance and human resources. Since then, Frauendorf has been trying as a soloist to “sustainably” rebuild the association. Which is not well received everywhere.
“Change is tough and uncomfortable,” the former management consultant recognized: “There is a lot of resistance from the old structures.” The DVV should become younger, more digital and faster, “in order to be well positioned in the long term”. It is understandable “that not everyone goes along with it,” says Frauendorf, who in turn finds it personally exciting to be able to work: “We have already achieved a lot.”
Not a few observers, however, see a risky concentration of power in their hands. “I’m taking on the responsibility,” she counters – but the second position on the board should be filled again as soon as possible. It’s not the only vacancy at management level. Both sports directors are also missing. In the summer, the association parted ways with Niclas Hildebrand, who was responsible for the beach area. The former successful coach Jürgen Wagner then resigned his post as “Head of Beach”. The contract with Christian Dünnes, who is responsible for the hall area, was canceled by mutual agreement – at his request.
Volunteer in the club
As a child and teenager, Julia Frauendorf played volleyball herself, at a hobby level. She had a good time at Eintracht Wiesbaden: “Many friendships last to this day.” She still works there as department head and coach for the U-14 boys. Voluntarily. “I want to give something to the next generation.” The fact that she acted as Libera in the team was partly due to her height, but according to her own assessment it also suited her personality: taking responsibility, working in the background, communicating a lot, these are her strengths.
Critics complain that she lacks the vision for the development of volleyball. But she doesn’t want to “assume a sporting assessment,” she says. The national coaches are responsible for this. Nevertheless, Frauendorf describes the organization of competitive sports as a “core business”: the visibility of the national teams, the organization of international matches and international successes are indicators of a sport that, with only 400,000 active people, tries not to be left behind in the competition of the disciplines.
The qualification of the indoor teams for Paris 2024 would be important. The German men were last at the Olympics in 2012, the women even in 2004. And even in the traditionally strong beach area, there is a risk of falling behind, as the home European Championship in Munich 2022 showed. The mood was great, but no German duo made it close to a medal. The fact that the marketing company of the DVV had to file for bankruptcy last spring also did not help the clout. As soon as she was in office, Frauendorf had to accompany the process and after a first look at the figures, she realized that the relationship between income and expenditure was not right.
At the weekend, the streamlined German Beach Tour will start the new season with a tournament in Bremen. Players’ representative Melanie Gernert complained that she had not been sufficiently involved in the tournament reform beforehand and resigned from her position.
The traditionalists don’t like the fact that the former professional Alex Walkenhorst is producing the tour with his marketing agency. Walkenhorst already accommodated the beach volleyball players in the Corona years on the Twitch platform, where video games are otherwise shown. For Julia Frauendorf, Walkenhorst is an “important business partner” – the interactive nature of the transmissions is “an exciting approach”. The only question is whether the old ones will be taken along?
Incidentally, the only gem in her office is a large-format photo that shows Laura Ludwig and her partners at a show match on a floating beach volleyball court in front of the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. “Laura vor Elphi” was a spectacular advertising campaign before the 2019 World Cup, when beach volleyball was still considered very cool and at the same time had a place in society – four years ago and yet like from another time.
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