“The ball is round and a game lasts 90 minutes”, Sepp Herberger once famously said. The ultimate football authority. Footballing wisdom for eternity. Not quite. These days, matches tend to go for 96+ minutes, but in Winterbach they are taking things to the next level in the hope of getting into the Guinness Book of Records with the longest ever game of football. And Bechtle is ready to secure the win.
Dirk Stiwitz first came up with the crazy plan back in 2014 and a year later, the first attempt was made—with play going on for 75 hours. Yes, you read that right. That should’ve been enough, but two teams in England had made their own record attempt at practically the same time, played for longer, and won the title. 2016—the next attempt. The English record was broken but Guinness Word Record adjudicators found the documentation lacking. 2019—and this is where Bechtle comes into play. Partnering with Axis Communications, Bechtle's Mannheim/Saarbrücken branch is taking over responsibility for documenting the event.
With organisers Dirk Stiwitz and Thomas Handle as well as the teams in Wallhalben and Winterbach leaving nothing to chance. After over a year a preparation, the record-breaking attempt is taking place between 29 May and 5 June. 168 continuous hours of football. Two teams with 18 players each. The rules of the German Football Federation shall apply, with some notable exceptions, for example, teams will be allowed to make more than three substitutions. But players will not be allowed to sit down on the pitch during the game.
And what is Bechtle’s role in all this? Two cameras will be installed on one of the flood lights, trained on the pitch at all times. Two more cameras will film the player’s area that those taking part are not allowed to leave for an entire week. That’s right. 168 hours = 7 days. The video server on which the file will be saved provides eight terabytes of storage capacity. Bechtle will be responsible for installing, connecting, testing and safeguarding the setup. Everything has to work. Failure is not an option. “It’s a lot of responsibility”, concedes Steven Cottone, Key Account Manager at Bechtle Saarbrücken. “Guinness will do random spot checks meaning they might want to see the recording at 112 hours and 13 minutes, and we have to provide it. Every second has to be available to be watched.”
Thomas Handle is pleased to have Bechtle on board and he’s not worried about the documentation—or even about the record. He is in fact radiating confidence about easily beating the English record. “The title is coming back to Germany”, he says. The English striker, Gary Lineker, may ultimately be proven right: “Football is a simple game: Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” And that’s exactly what should happen in Winterbach.
Published on May 24, 2019.