Bundesliga News

DFL approves Hoffenheim's return to 50+1

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's return to a 50+1 shareholder majority is now official. 
Dietmar Hopp
Dietmar HoppSven Mandel CC-BY-SA-4.0
After the regulatory body responsible for administering Germany's top-two footballing divisions officially accepted a revised shareholder agreement on Thursday, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim has now officially returned to the German footballing model of fan ownership. The DFL concluded a process initiated by TSG owner Dietmar Hopp last spring. Final decisions on all things club related now return to the TSG supervisory board and TSG GmbH.

Hopp opted to begin building up his hometown club at the turn of the millennium. Since 2001, the billionaire owner co-founder of Germany's SAP software group has been granted an exception to normal German ownership rules for football clubs. Hopp was permitted to maintain a 98 percent share in the TSG based on his commitment to his home-town club and various sporting advocacy projects in the Rhein-Neckar Region.

The manner in which Hopp used his personal wealth to build up his hometown club left Hoffenheim one of the most disliked clubs in the Bundesrepublik. The 83-year-old found himself at the center of a protest storm just prior to the pandemic-induced suspension of league play during the 2019/20 campaign. Hopp previously stood his ground with regard to his stakeholder rights despite intermittent protests over his entire reign.

The German top flight now currently contains two clubs - VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer 04 Leverkusen - who are granted exceptions to the 50+1 model due to the fact that they are backed by German companies. RB Leipzig technically adhere to the principle, yet largely maintain a supervisory board considered to be a puppet of the Red Bull GmbH.

Hopp's transfer clears the way for more locals to stand for the TSG board, but doesn't necessarily guarantee that the financier's fingerprints will pull back from club decision-making processes. Hopp's financial backing of the club will naturally continue, meaning that the return to 50+1 voting rights won't necessarily change the opinion of many Germans about the Kraichgau-based club.

"I am relieved that all requirements have now been met and the changes have been finalised," Hopp noted in a statement, "This brings to an end a chapter in TSG's history that has brought the club and myself a great deal of mistrust and hostility. I know that the 50+1 rule. is a valuable asset in German football. would like to thank all those who have now ensured that the original situation is restored."

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