The next chapter in the Hertha Berlin soap opera surrounding investor Lars Windhorst has seen the millionaire declare his intention to end his cooperation with the capital club following a scandal surrounding him, former President Werner Gegenbauer and Israeli spies.
In a statement to the Deutsche Presse Agentur, Windhorst has offered Hertha the chance to buy back the shares he previously bought for €374 million commenting that new President Kay Bernstein was “clearly not interested in a trusting and serious cooperation” leading to no hope of a working relationship.
Reports emerged last week that Windhorst had hired a private intelligence company to smear and remove former club president Werner Gegenbauer and before last Sunday’s home Bundesliga match with Hoffenheim fans took to protesting with fliers before the match and banners during the 1-1 draw.
“We are all called upon to take a firm stand against this activity by Lars Windhorst,” read the flyer. “His actions are damaging our club. He doesn’t shy away from anything. We can’t remain silent about that. – Kicked by a man whose actions and statements, both in the past and in the present, have damaged the reputation and success of Hertha BSC.”
A banner unfurled during the match read: “Dirty campaigns, detectives and millions will not end it, Hertha BSC remains firmly in our hands” and “Windhorst out of our club.”
It seems the fans have got their way with the controversial investor deciding to leave the club before being asked to.
In his statement however, he hit out at new President Kay Bernstein saying, “All the conversations with the new President Kay Bernstein have shown us that there is a big difference between the statements and then the president’s behaviour that follows.
“Kay Bernstein is noticeably not interested in trusting and serious cooperation. This also shows the current case of the debate over an alleged commissioning of the Israeli agency by Tennor. Instead of working together with us on education, President Bernstein decided to join the preconvictions without examining the evidence.
“Our economic, but also our sporting goals are so unreachable, and thus the very basis of our commitment to Hertha BSC has been destroyed. That is why we end our commitment to Hertha BSC and officially offer the association to buy back our majority shares in the amount of 64.7% at the previous purchase price.
Windhorst has been a highly controversial figure at Hertha, but since 2019 he has invested €175.8 million helping the club to buy 37 players. Only four other Bundesliga clubs have matched this spending over the same period. Results however haven’t followed with Hertha only securing their Bundesliga survival last season with a play-ff win over Hamburg. There have also been eight different coaching appointments during this period indicating the instability at the Olympiastadion.
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