It seems that Hertha Berlin are not only facing a battle on the pitch to retain their Bundesliga status but are also facing a massive struggle off the pitch with reports claiming the capital club are in danger of not being issued a playing license by the DFL for next season.
A source from the DFL, who has demanded anonymity has told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that Hertha’s situation regarding the granting of a new license was “highly critical” and added that the Berlin club was “the worst case we’ve ever had”.
The issue centres around two problems for die Alte Dame- one of financial liquidity and the other regarding the new investment deal with 777 Partners. Hertha have made major losses in recent seasons due mainly to player investments and they are said to have worryingly low reserves. The DFL has imposed conditions on the club, which need to be met by June 30 with further conditions set for the 2023/24 season.
Huge outlays on player transfers and wages in the past few seasons have put black hole in the Hertha accounts. Krzysztof Piatek (bow on loan at Italian side Salernitana) for example was signed for €24 million and is being paid 6.7 million per season (which will extend to 2025). He is the club’s top earner, but is not even contributing to the first-team cause! Even whilst on loan, Hertha are having to cover the majority of his wages.
The DFL also reportedly have major concerns over the new involvement of American investment group 777 Partners, who they fear may infringe upon the untouchable 50+1 rule in German football. “There are increasing indications that Hertha – contrary to the spirit of this golden league rule – has handed itself over to its American financiers out of sheer necessity” the Süddeutsche report reveals.
Hertha themselves have released a statement today explaining their side of events and trying to calm any panic. “We are in regular contact with the DFL both regarding the ongoing licensing process and the content of the partnership with our investor 777 Partners.
“Both topics must be discussed and clarified while complying with all legal requirements – in particular the 50+1 rule – and content-related specifications. We will not comment further on these ongoing processes and speculation in the media at the moment.”
The issue of outside investment is a key one at the moment with the DFL itself looking to bring in investment by selling parts of it’s TV rights to outside investors. The move has brough widespread condemnation from fan groups.
Hertha have plenty to worry about on the pitch as they currently lie bottom of the Bundesliga wit just three games remaining this season. It could be that even if they do pull off the miracle escape, their problems may just be beginning.
Watch this space.