Yesterday’s 2.Bundesliga match between Hertha Berlin and Hamburger SV was held up for a full 32 minutes during the second half as fans threw tennis balls onto the pitch as part of an ongoing nationwide fan protest against the proposals from the DFL to invite outside investors into German football. The fans discontent across the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga shows no sign of abating.
There had already been a short break in play in the first half when fans threw tennis balls onto the Olympiastadion pitch as has been happening across the leagues with supporters performing an ‘atmosphere boycott’ for the first 12 minutes of games in reference to them being the 12th man.
Fans at the Olympiastadion however made a bigger statement on Saturday by forcing the game to stop. The Hertha ultras even engaged with the players and trainer Pal Dardai explaining their grievances. Their statement was as follows:
“We are the grassroots of football” they explained. “There was a DFL vote on an investor and the clubs voted against. But some clubs, some officials, decided to vote again and this time in a secret ballot enabling some- allegedly Martin Kind of Hannover 96- to vote against the instructions of their club.
“This vote is invalid. Somehow we have to try and resist it and that’s why we’ve used this game, where as many people as possible are watching to draw attention to our banners on which we outline what our problem is.
“If the referee had called off the game we wouldn’t have cared. We don’t care about potentially losing points. We care about football retaining some sort of tradition in the future. We can’t rule out this happening again. So that the cameras pan to the terraces and people see what the grassroots think of this shit. That’s the message. We hope you understand.”
The German Football League (DFL) is aiming to bring in up to a billion euros by selling a stake in its media rights next year. The DFL has said it aims to conclude an agreement worth between €900 million and €1 billion by the end of March, before it awards media rights for the German market for 2025-2029.
The fans are clear in their objection and as is being demonstrated across all games, they are not going to accept this second vote lightly. Expect to see further demonstrations of fan power across the coming weeks.