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There is a claim on Reddit, originally from Twitter, stating that Oliver Kahn denied all penalties from children, even though every goal was worth charity money.

Twitter post claiming that Oliver Kahn denied charity money

Original transcription:

Currently reading 'Tor!' which is a book about the history of German football. Discovered that Oliver Kahn once played in a penalty shootout against a group of 9 year olds. For every penalty scored by the kids, money was given to a charity. Kahn saved every penalty.

- From Panchero on Twitter

I have a hard time believing this. Can this be backed up? What's the 'real' story here?

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    Honestly, even if this is 100% true, why is that a mark against Kahn? He is one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, he should be supposed to parry most shots by kids. And letting them in just for charities sake? I don't think, that's good, it inflates the ego of the kids scoring goals against the great Kahn or leaves them disillusioned, as he didn't really try. I just don't see point, if people want to donate, they should donate, not tie it to some ridiculous uneven contest. – Dulkan May 27 at 14:22
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    Does the book "Tor!" itself make the claim that's stated in the tweet? – Andrew Grimm May 28 at 0:37
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There might be some truth to it, but its unclear.

In an interview in 2015, Kahn had this to say:

Q: Stimmt es, dass Sie einmal bei einem Benefizturnier keine Bälle reinließen, obwohl jedes Tor Geld für einen guten Zweck gebracht hätte? A: Das stimmt leider. Mir hat damals allerdings niemand gesagt, dass jedes Tor eine Spende bedeutet hätte. Ich habe fast jeden Ball pariert. Erst später hat mich mein Trainer Winnie Schäfer aufgeklärt, um was es eigentlich ging.

(Translation via DeepL.com:)

Q: Is it true that once in a charity tournament you wouldn't let balls in, even though every goal would have brought money for a good cause? A: Unfortunately that's true. But nobody told me back then that every goal meant a donation. I parried almost every ball. Only later did my coach Winnie Schäfer explain to me what it was all about.

Note that he said he parried almost every ball, not every single of them, and that he claims he wasn't told about the event beforehand. Note that the age of the shooters is not mentioned.

I could not find any shred of evidence of this happening other then him saying so.


The only other event I could find is a charity event during his farewell game. During the break, he faced a penalty shootout against amateur shooters and saved five out of ten penalties. I could not find out how old the shooters were, they are described simply as amateurs.

Die „ich schaff‘s Tour mit Oliver Kahn“
Oliver Kahn, ehemaliger Tor-Titan der Nationalelf, und der DKSB haben 2008 ein gemeinsames Hilfsprojekt initiiert. Im Rahmen des Abschiedsspiels von Oliver Kahn am 2. September 2008 hatte sich der Welttorhüter zehn Amateurschützen zum Elfmeter-Duell gestellt. Fünf Bälle hielt Kahn. Für jeden spendete easy living 100.000 Euro. Einen Teil dieses Geldes erhielt der DKSB, der damit die „ich schaff‘s Tour mit Oliver Kahn“ realisierte. Zwölf Schulen aus Bayern wurden ausgewählt, um an dem Motivationsprogramm teilzunehmen. Höhepunkt wird für die Jugendlichen zwischen 11 und 16 Jahren natürlich der Besuch Oliver Kahns in ihrer Schule sein.

(Source: Jahresbericht 2008/2009 - Deutscher Kinderschutzbund Bundesverband e.V.)

English version (with the help of deepl.com, some small corrections made by me):

Oliver Kahn, former Goal-Titan of the national team, and the DKSB initiated a joint aid project in 2008. As part of Oliver Kahn's farewell game on 2 September 2008, the world goalkeeper had challenged ten amateur shooters to a penalty duel. Kahn held five balls. For each of them, easy living donated 100,000 euros. Part of this money was donated to the DKSB, who used it to realise the "I can do it tour with Oliver Kahn". Twelve schools from Bavaria were selected to take part in the motivation programme. The highlight for the young people between the ages of 11 and 16 will of course be Oliver Kahn's visit to their school.

He did train for penalties with his old trainer Sepp Maier before the game, according to contemporary news articles.

The penalty shootout was set up in this way:

  • For every goal, the shooter would get 100 000€
  • For every save, 100 000€ would be spent for charity

Here is a video depicting the event, as reported by ZDF (public broadcaster) at the time (reporting about the shootout starts at 30:14).

As is clearly visible in the video, the shooters were adults.

I could not identify a similar event where money was donated (or was to be donated) to charity, and none against 9-year olds.

  • What does each refer to in for each of them ? Was the charity money paid for each saved kick, of for each kick regardless of whether it scored or not ? – Aserre May 27 at 12:21

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