Bundesliga reconsidering club ownership rules to create 'more opportunities' for sustainable investments

A revolution is brewing in Germany, where the Football League (DFL) fears it is falling behind Spain and England and wants to make investing in clubs more attractive.

AFP February 16, 2018 11:34:50 IST
Bundesliga reconsidering club ownership rules to create 'more opportunities' for sustainable investments

Berlin: A revolution is brewing in Germany, where the Football League (DFL) fears it is falling behind Spain and England and wants to make investing in clubs more attractive.

Bundesliga reconsidering club ownership rules to create more opportunities for sustainable investments

Dortmund fans wave their flags. AFP

"The league board has decided to reconsider" the sacred "50+1" rule, DFL director general Christian Seifert told international journalists on Thursday.

The rule means a majority of shares at most clubs stay under the control of fans and outside investors can almost never take over a German club.

Seifert said the DFL, which runs both divisions of the Bundesliga, was putting in place a structure for discussing changes with its 36 clubs. He said he anticipated resistance and did not foresee finishing the process this year.

In Germany clubs are traditionally fan-controlled associations and this has an impact on they are run and the way they are supported.

"Stadiums are packed, the ticket prices are affordable," Seifert said. "You see all of society in the stadiums: young, old, black, white, poor, rich. It's a game for everyone.

"If you look at the yellow wall in Dortmund, you pay 15 euros ($18.70) to stand in that stand. This is something very special to the Bundesliga."

Seifert said that he wanted to see "if it is possible to keep these values and to make sure clubs don't end up like products you just buy and sell every day" while creating "more investment opportunities for serious and sustainable investors".

In January, Seifert expressed alarm at the apparent decline of German clubs in European competition.

Last season, for the first time since 2004-2005, no German team reached the semi-finals of either of the European Cups. This season only Bayern Munich have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Leipzig and Dortmund finished third in their groups and dropped down to the Europa League while the three teams who started in that competition were all eliminated in the group stage.

Seifert said he wanted to build a group of elite clubs able to survive in European competition.

"It's a question of money," he said at the time. "If we want to be competitive, we have to accept commercial rules, to a certain extent."

On Thursday he added: "This rule has brought the Bundesliga were it is, so to change this framework would have to mean that we went from good to great, and not just from good to rich."

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