German Rugby Federation
Deutscher Rugby-Verband
SportRugby union
Founded1900 (1900)
World Rugby affiliation1988
Rugby Europe affiliation1934
PresidentHarald Hees
Men's coachMark Kuhlmann
Women's coachDirk Frase & Paul McGuigan

The German Rugby Federation (German: Deutscher Rugby-Verband or DRV) is the governing body for rugby union in Germany. It organizes the German national team and the three league divisions: the Rugby-Bundesliga, the 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga and the Rugby-Regionalliga. It was founded on 4 November 1900 in Kassel, and is the oldest national rugby union in continental Europe. After the Second World War, the DRV was restored on 14 May 1950.

The DRV publishes the Deutsches Rugby-Journal with 11 issues per year. It is the official organ of the federation.[1]


Prior to its foundation several initiatives were taken to syndicate the German clubs. When the efforts of the north German clubs failed in 1886, DFV Hannover 1878 joined the "German Football and Cricket federation", while the southern clubs opted for the "South German Football Union". Despite the well pronounced individualism of the clubs, representatives from Heidelberg and from FV Stuttgart 93, the later VfB Stuttgart, met in February 1898 for the first Rugby-Day (German: Rugby-Tag) in Frankfurt. Led by Professor Dr. Edward Hill Ulrich this group went on looking for closer contact to the north German clubs. Additional Rugby-Days followed in August 1898 and September 1899. It was not until the fifth of this gatherings, taking place in Hannover on 4 November 1900, that 19 clubs formally decided on a joint operation to form a German Rugby Football Union under the governing body of the German Football Association. On 4 November 1901, only one year after the foundation the Rugby-Football Federation made the decision to leave the association football players and form the self-governed German Rugby Federation.[2]

Centenary and Barbarians Tour

In 2000 the German Rugby Federation celebrated its centenary. Centenary celebrations included a banquet in the Heidelberg Castle and the hosting of the European leg of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Heidelberg, in which the German team came close to upsetting Ireland, who had Gordon D'Arcy in their line-up. The tournament was won by the Welsh team, which featured Andy Marinos and Arwel Thomas.

The highlight of the Centenary season was the Centenary Match against the Barbarians. The Barbarians included a host of internationals including Scott Hastings, Peter Stringer, Shaun Longstaff, Jeff Probyn, Frankie Sheahan, Russell Earnshaw, Shaun Connor, John Langford and Derwyn Jones and won 47–19 against a determined German team.

Proposed reform 2009

The DRV proposed a reform of its structure in October 2009, with the view of rugby having become an Olympic sport once more.[3]

Also, from 2010–11, every club has to field a minimum of ten players per game who are eligible to play for the German national team, and can only field twelve non-eligible players at the same game.[3]

For the national teams, the aim was set to have the men's side achieve qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, at the latest, and qualification for both the men and women for the 2016 Summer Olympics.[3]

Financial Crisis

The German Rugby Federation suffered a major crisis in 2011, finding itself close to insolvency, being €200,000 in debt. The situation was brought on by the annual grant of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, BMI, not being paid in 2010 after the ministry voiced concerns that the DRV was not using the money for the desired purpose, to support the sport. A legal battle that the DRV chairman Claus-Peter Bach fought with the ministry did not bring the desired result but instead worsened the situation. Bach consequently announced he would not stand for another term in July 2011 and was replaced by Ralph Götz. The DRV was able to secure a private loan to survive and hopes to attract sponsors that had withdrawn under Bach as well as to reach a settlement with the BMI.[4][5]

At the Deutsche Rugby Tag (DRT) in mid-July 2012, the DRV announced that it was able to avoid insolvency and regain its annual grants from the German government on the condition that it sticks to a strict financial plan that would see the DRV debt free by 2018. Any violation of this plan would see the funding withdrawn and the association confronted with insolvency again.[6][7]


The DRV is located and registered as a non-profit organisation in Hannover and combines the 13 regional unions (Landesverbände) with 11,656 members total of which 10,023 are male and 1,633 are female players. The 108 registered clubs have 319 referees (as of January 2011).[8] The DRV has three sub-organisations these are the German Rugby Youth (German: Deutsche Rugby-Jugend or DRJ) since 1967, the Referees Association (German: Schiedrichtervereinigung or SDRV) since 1996 and the German Women's Rugby Association (German: Deutsche Rugby-Frauen or DRF) since 2003. As an outcome of the Rugby-Tag in July 2010 the integration of Touch Rugby was scheduled for January 2011.[9]


The DRV is a foundation member of Rugby Europe (1934), and became affiliated to the International Rugby Football Board, now known as World Rugby, in 1988. Moreover, it is a founding member of the German Olympic Sport Federation Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund.


Since the formation of the association in 1900, its presidents were:

Name Years Club
Ferdinand-Wilhelm Fricke 1900–01 DFV 1878 Hannover
Edward Hill Ullrich 1902–03 Heidelberger RK
Ferdinand-Wilhelm Fricke 1904–05 DFV 1878 Hannover
Edward Hill Ullrich 1906–07 Heidelberger RK
Hermann Behlert 1908–09 SC Elite Hannover
Robert Müller 1909–13 SC Merkur Hannover
Ottomar Baron von Reden-Pattensen 1913–20 DFV 1878 Hannover
Albert Wolters 1920–23 DFV 1878 Hannover
Paul Simon 1923–24 TV 1860 Frankfurt
Theodor Freud 1924–25 Preußen Berlin
Fritz Müller 1925–27 SC 1880 Frankfurt
Ottomar Baron von Reden-Pattensen 1927–31 DSV 78 Hannover
Hermann Meister 1931–47 RG Heidelberg
Paul Schrader 1947–49 SV Odin Hannover
Willi Abel 1949–51 FV 1897 Linden
Fritz Bösche 1951–56 TSV Victoria Linden
Heinz Reinhold 1956–74 SV 1908 Ricklingen
Hans Baumgärtner 1974–85 SC Neuenheim
Willi Eckert 1985–91 NTV 09 Hannover
Theodor Frucht 1991–96 TSV Victoria Linden
Ian Rawcliffe 1996–2004 BSC Offenbach
Bernd Leifheit 2004–05 SV 1908 Ricklingen
Claus-Peter Bach 2005–11 SC Neuenheim
Ralph Götz 2011–13 SC Neuenheim
Ian Rawcliffe 2013–15 BSC Offenbach
Klaus Blank 2015–18 SC Neuenheim
Robin J. Stalker 2018–19 no club affiliation
Harald Hees 2019– RK Heusenstamm

Source: "Präsidenten des Deutschen Rugby-Verbandes" (in German). Deutscher Rugby Verband. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2009.



  1. ^ Deutsche Rugbyliteratur (in German) DRV website, accessed: 2 March 2010
  2. ^ Claus-Peter Bach (Ed.): 100 Jahre Deutscher Rugby-Verband. no publisher; presumably: Gehrden-Leveste (Schroeder-Verlag), 2000, pp. 24–25
  3. ^ a b c Der DRV-Arbeitsplan "Rugby auf dem Weg nach Olympia 2016" (in German), author: Claus-Peter Bach, published: 19 October 2009, accessed: 27 March 2010
  4. ^ Neue Hoffnung im Überlebenskampf (in German) Offenbach-Post, published: 3 August 2011, accessed: 19 August 2011
  5. ^ DRV: Hoffnungen ruhen auf Götz und Zeiger (in German) Offenbach-Post, published: 18 July 2011, accessed: 19 August 2011
  6. ^ DRT 2012: Ligareform kommt / Vertrag mit DRV-Vermarkter wird überprüft (in German), published: 16 July 2012, accessed: 24 July 2012
  7. ^ DRT (in German) DRV website, published: 16 July 2012, accessed: 24 July 2012
  8. ^ Germany at the IRB website Archived 2011-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. accessed: 23. January 2011
  9. ^ Protokoll des DEUTSCHEN-RUGBY-TAGS, Haus des Sports, Hannover, 03.07.2011, DRV