Former Arsenal full-back, Tabea Kemme, wants to use her Arsenal experience to restore Turbine Potsdam to glory, should she win the presidency of her former club when the election takes place on 18 June amid a battle of old vs new, male vs female.
Tabea Kemme was forced to retire in January 2020 after persistent injuries left her with few other options. A knee problem in 2018 was complicated by a ‘reaction’ and things never really got better after that.
Kemme was carrying the knee injury when she arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2018 after 12 years with Turbine Potsdam, where she made 140 appearances, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the Frauen-Bundesliga four times in a row between 2009 and 2012.
In all, she managed just three league appearances for Arsenal, but still got a League Winner’s medal at the end of the 2018/19 season.
Following her retirement, Kemme returned to Potsdam with one goal – to become president of Turbine Potsdam, which would make her the first female president of a Women’s Bundesliga club.
Isn’t that absurd? This is 2021, after all, and we are talking about women’s football.
Anyway, Potsdam, once a powerhouse in women’s football with two Champions League titles, six Bundesliga titles and three German Cups between 2004 and 2012, has not won any silverware for almost a decade.
Kemme would like to take what she learned at Arsenal to help change that at the only all-women’s club to finish in the top half of the Women’s Bundesliga.
“For the last eight years, the club has aimed to qualify for the Champions League and failed to achieve this,” the former defender told DW. “I see a major need for change there.
“When I moved to England, I learned how things can be done, how things have to be run, if you want to play professional football,” she said of her experience with Arsenal.
“For example, I was asked by the coach, ‘Tabea, how are you? What are your strengths? What do you think about the (tactical) system? How can we interact even better here?’
“I have been in contact with many former players who also see the potential here and who are also prepared to take on an active role at the club,” Kemme added.
DW report that, “Kemme has gathered a support team of eight people for her candidacy, including representatives from business and politics, a media specialist, two members of the current Turbine board, as well as [Matthias] Rudolph (Turbine Potsdam’s manager). With his experience as a coach and teacher, his task would be to reinvigorate the Potsdam women’s team’s work with the sports school and the Brandenburg state FA.
“Kemme believes that her experience as a player in Potsdam, her time in England and what she is learning in her studies make her the right fit to implement generational change at Turbine. Whether she will get that opportunity or not will be up to the club’s members at Turbine’s general meeting on Friday.”
Kemme is running against 73-year-old incumbent, Rolf Kutzmutz. Or, as one German website put it, “young woman vs old man.” Kutzmutz has been with the club for 21 years, at the helm the last six.
“Tabea Kemme can work by my side and gain experience for later board work or even presidency,” he said, not willing to step aside for someone younger, fresher and female. “That it was always my goal to win a woman for my successor”, he added, before caveating that with, “who has entrepreneurial qualities and is familiar with board work.”
In other words, ‘You can’t have the job until you have experience in the job, that you can’t get because you don’t have experience in the job.” This is how institutional discrimination works.
“You can’t put the trainee in front of the boss,” Kutzmutz added.
“No matter how good my idea is, I am still attacked as a person,” Kemme added in a statement women everywhere will identify with. Under the banner “Football can do more”, players such as Almuth Schult and referee Bibiana Steinhaus-Webb are calling for a women’s quota of 30% on the top bodies of the DFB and more women on the boards of directors and supervisory boards of clubs.
“The doors are locked from the inside,” Kemme recently told Kicker. “I’m not taken seriously. The basic argument is that I have no entrepreneurial qualities.”
Even when Kemme does study, that is used as a reason to say she is not suitable. “I’m doing distance learning at the International Football Institute explicitly in order to take this [career] path.” Many point to this, ridiculously, as proof she will not have time for the office.
“I see the potential here and know exactly the problems from my time as an active player,” Kemme said. “The gap that already exists to become successful again is widening every day as long as one does not act.
“I’ve already been yelled at that I was damaging to the club. I know this kind of criticism from my time as a player, when at the age of 23 I was accused of having personality deficits.
“I’m a professional, especially when it comes to perseverance .”
The election takes place on Friday, 18 June 2021 at 5.30pm CET by a vote between Turbine members.