Fan power wins as DFL investor deal looks to be dead

The country-wide protests from German fan groups across the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga look to have reached their objective with news emerging that the DFL is scrapping its plans to bring in outside investors. 

In a statement from Hans-Joachim Watzke, spokesman for the DFL Executive Committee, it was announced that, “the viability of a successful conclusion of a contract in terms of financing the 36 clubs can no longer be guaranteed given the circumstances in the league association with its 36 member clubs.”

The Presidium therefore unanimously came to the conclusion that “it should exercise its ultimate discretion not to continue the process or bring it to a conclusion”. In the opinion of the Presidium, any further votes would “not bring about a solution to the problem”.

The controversial deal took a blow recently when one of the major proposed investors Blackstone distanced themselves from the deal in light of the ongoing fan opposition that has caused widespread disruption to matches for weeks. Tennis balls, sweets and bouncy balls have been thrown on the pitch, bicycle locks have been attached to the goals and remote controlled cars and planes have even been dispatched onto and over the pitches. 

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The DFL had been hoping to attract private investment firms to take as much as an 8% stake in the league’s broadcasting rights, with a predicted cash injection of €1 billion. The fans were opposed to the deal citing worries over interference from investors (kick-off times) and a dilution of the traditions so dear to German football supporters (over-commercialisation).

The first vote on the proposal was defeated, but a second controversial vote then overturned that rejection, although there was much speculation that some club bosses had voted secretly in favour despite fan opposition (Martin Kind at Hannover).

The protests, which have caused delays of up to 30 minutes at some matches, will now be seen as wholly justified by the fans with victory being achieved due to their actions. Once again the German fan scene has shown just how powerful it can be and sent out a clear message that the authorities cannot ride roughshod over their game with due consideration.

The DFL believed the deal would have helped the German game become more competitive with its big European rivals and stressed that there would have been no dilution of the fan experience or undue interference from the investors. 

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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