22 May 2012

Supreme Court's ruling states that Steuer will be able to coach athletes serving in the German Armed Forces

On the eve of 2010 Olympic games Ingo Steuer talked to the German press about the uneasy environment he lives and works in, due to unsettled controversies regarding his relations with the Stasi (East Germany's secret police). He was born in East Germany, and there he grew up as an athlete, until German reunification. This situation prevents the German federation from using their funds for Steuer and his German pairs. Ingo Steuer appeared embittered and disillusioned: "It's a real shame that so many German athletes are damaged by this situation", he said.
Germany wanted to exclude Steuer from the official Olympics delegation. Steuer adressed the court, which ruled in his favor. However, in Turin he was prevented to wear the uniform of the team.

Then in January, we talked about financial matters impacting Savchenko and Szolkowy's withdrawal in Sheffield: it was well-known that Steuer's skaters needed to perform in as many shows as possible, because he did not receive any funds from the German skating federation due to his distant past as an East German Stasi operative.

And now the endless controversy between the German State and Ingo Steuer is enhanced by another episode.

Ingo Steuer's arguments have prevailed over those of the army before the Federal Supreme Court: the ruling, issued Tuesday, states that he will be able to coach athletes serving in the German Armed Forces.
This means that Robin Szolkowy could return to the ranks of the army as an athlete, and then receive financial support. Szolkowy had in fact had to resign because of his willingness to continue training with Steuer, Savchenko and Szolkowy had thus had to resort to sponsors and gala to support themselves.

The Supreme Court has based its decision on the assessment of the interests at stake. He established that Steuer's activity, as an high level coach in the field of skating pairs, was considerably damaged by the inability to train athletes who have joined the army, while the interests of the State (who complained a loss of reputation from admitting a former collaborator of the Stasi as a coach of his soldiers) were not significantly affected. In fact, the German coach holds no positions inside the army but acts as an external advisor. Also there have been no complaints about Steuer's activities and allegiance to the State since the reunification of Germany and sports bodies have not made any objection after the ruling in his favor issued by the Court of Brandenburg in March 2011.

Source: ArtOnIce here and here

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