A personal statement the Bergdorf-EM 2021

Dear friends of the Bergdorf-EM, dear sponsors and interested,

attentive have already read it in the title: The Bergdorf-EM 2020 will not take place, and similar to our big sister, the UEFA European Football Championship, we will also postpone our tournament, based on the current pandemic situation, until the year 2021. That’s why, starting now, we [will] communicate our upcoming European mountain-football tournament as Bergdorf-EM 2021. This circumstance, as well as the many messages surrounding the Bergdorf-EM that was originally planned for this August, have prompted me, as the President of the Bergdorf-EM Association and the Organizing Committee for the Bergdorf-EM 2020, to make the following personal statement.


Many people here in the region, and especially in the municipality of Staldenried, have engaged themselves with passion for the Bergdorf-EM 2020, and a rarely seen great personal effort. However, this close to the actual start, the Corona pandemic has created something like cold feet for many. Sometimes it was concerns about the current situation from employers, friends, acquaintances, or even family members that were put above the significance of the event. Thus, a couple of our association’s members, as well as some helpers and supporters, saw themselves exposed to a pressure which they could not always withstand. And so, the great passion for mountain football was often placed at the back [of the priorities list], or even given up. Although one should never give up passion as an important driver in life.


I myself, as the President of the Bergdorf-EM Association, along with Roland Abgottspon, the honorary President of FC Gspon, we agree on one thing: we want to leave the Bergdorf-EM in its birthplace. Our idea from the first moment was to play here on the highest football field in Europe, to support Gspon and its inhabitants, and to positively portray our home and the fascinating mountain world. We haven’t forgotten our slogan: “A village takes extraordinary paths,” and it will continue to be our guiding principle when we prepare and execute the next activities of the Bergdorf-EM Association.


During the quarrels around the execution of the Bergdorf-EM 2020 we received many thoughts about holding the tournament in a different location. We had the opportunity of giving up the Bergdorf-EM 2020 to another venue. On almost every day in the last two weeks we received strong signals from interested venues nationally and internationally. However, we will keep this event in Gspon, and I hope that this will also find approval from those who are currently doubting. For me it is clear that, for the Bergdorf-EM in Switzerland, there is only Gspon. This commitment, however, should also be acknowledged by all key players who are directly or indirectly involved in the Bergdorf-EM. This commitment should not only be said as an aside, but should be underpinned by real passion.


For me there is a very personal translation for “Gspon”:

  • G – stands for health
  • S  – stands for sun, sport, and fun
  • P  – panorama
  • O  – stands for the Ottmar Hitzfeld-Gspon Arena, and
  • N –  stands for nature

“For me, Gpson is the most beautiful place in the world”


Everything that comes together here, and only here, makes up the special charm of a tournament high up in the Swiss Alps. Gspon is unique and can delight the whole world of football with its exceptionality. For me, mountain football belongs inextricably to Gspon, just as the ball belongs to the game.


Here, high up in the Valaisian mountains, the world is still in order, and we want to further mountain football in a playful way, and thus appeal into the whole society. Thereto belongs the combination of authentic football stories with our daily engagement in “SportMeetsCharity” where we support and also communicate [regarding our] social projects with children, youth, and families, as well as [our] mountain projects (amongst others: ski lifts, playground equipment on the schoolyard) with so-called “ball-donations”.

“Every single person in the worldwide-football-society has an ethical responsibility. Those interested in football further this – with the Bergdorf-EM association we take on this responsibility.”


Where usually the protection-worthy Alpine world only makes headlines when an avalanche descends or climbers and hikers have accidents, we want to carry out into the world positive messages about our engagement and our beacon-idea from the Swiss mountains with Gspon as the sender.


Also because of this reason we have great confidence that after difficult days and weeks we are able to rebuild the conciliation between all those involved and that all key players will give their strong affirmation to Gspon and the Bergdorf-EM. If we all think, act, and talk collectively, everyone will also find his platform and be able to incorporate his very own and distinctive way along with his passion into a magnificent idea.


In the current survey regarding the Bergdorf-EM it becomes clear that only a small portion within the survey now place themselves on the side of the municipality. But exactly this small [portion] actually represents our idea. We do not want to make our mark against the people in the region, we want to be one with our region. That has always made us special, but also shows how difficult such a process can be. And just as there was the unforgotten miracle of Berne in 1954, so maybe sometime soon we will experience the miracle of Gspon.


Again, I’d like to emphasize that we want to keep the Bergdorf-EM in Gspon. Here is the home of the craziest football tournament in the Alps. With this we place a symbolic beacon in the middle of the mountains, and are aware of the enthusiasm, and attention from around the world.


Let us all work on [this] magnificent thing together. And when the Bergdorf-EM 2021 starts, we will also know that, with our authentic football stories, together we moved mountains for the people in the region and beyond and did something very good. Particularly because we as people of the mountain are able to fight hard but fair under difficult circumstances.


Fabian Furrer

President of the Bergdorf-EM Association
& Organizing Committee President of the Bergdorf-EM 2020

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