Bundesliga News

Anti-investor protest banners prominent in Bundesliga stadiums ahead of Monday vote

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

There were protests all across the Bundesrepublik on Saturday afternoon as German football fans demonstrated their opposition to outside investment in the Bundesliga ahead of another DFL vote on Monday. 
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Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
Having seen their previous proposal defeated in late May, club bosses and DFL supervisory board members Hans-Joachim Watzke of Dortmund and Axel Hellmann of Frankfurt (among many others) are still trying to gain approval for an outside investor model that will allow an outside investor to purchase a stake in German football's top two flights. A smaller scale investment is set for a vote on Monday.


German media sources cannot yet ascertain which capital group wishes to invest in the German Bundesliga. Global investment funds Advent, Blackstone, VCV, and EQT are the four possible holding companies; of which one wishes to be the first potential partner of a new DFL spinoff licensing company. Unlike last summer, a much smaller total investment and stake in the league is being voted on.

Proponents of the plan hope that the reduced scale of the commitment might help the motion gain the two-thirds majority amongst the 36 member clubs contesting Germany's top two footballing flights. The other important adjustment, in an effort to ensure that the investor doesn't unduly influence decisions, gives the clubs a double voting share and greater veto power over potential investor influence.

Some specific concerns voiced by fan groups have also been addresses. The investor will, for example, be explicitly forbidden from influencing things such as the scheduling of match-days, kick-off times, and most other types of sporting organization. This naturally didn't stop protest-hungry Bundesliga fans from voicing their opposition within the stadiums on Saturday afternoon.

Anti-investor banners were observed in the ultras-sections of FC Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt, SV Werder Bremen, and 1. FC Heidenheim. SC Freiburg, FC Augsburg, and Borussia Mönchengladbach traveling supporters also brought banners to their away matches. It stands to reason that protests will continue in first and second divisions throughout the weekend.

Germany's preeminent footballing publication, Kicker Magazine, cites its own sources to claim that the Monday vote looks far more likely to pass than the failed initiative last May. German footballing journalist Benni Hofmann - in an article published on Kicker's website - nevertheless emphasizes that the tea leaves cannot fully be read. Hofmann cautions that an outcome cannot be predicted.











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