Bundesliga News

Watzke reiterates willingness to defend investor deal before ultra groups

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

In separate statements released Friday, Borussia Dortmund/DFL boss Hans-Joachim Watzke and a consortium of German footballing ultra groups both addressed the fact that there would be no public dialogue over a controversial newly-sanctioned DFL investor deal. 

Watzke - through a statement released by the DFL - reiterated that he remained willing to defend the deal in a public forum. The fan groups maintain that Watzke's supposed "olive branch" remains nothing more than a cosmetic "fig leaf".
Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Hans-Joachim Watzke.Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0
As sustained protests against a newly-sanctioned DFL licensing deal continue to cause prolonged match delays in German football arenas across the country, there appears to be end in sight to the impasse between the main German league body and the fans supporting the 36 clubs contesting the top two German professional footballing flights. An offer proffered by the DFL deal's primary architect and most ardent proponent for an open dialogue was rejected by a consortium of German ultra groups late this week.


BVB executive and DFL Supervisory Board member Hans Joachim Watzke issued a formal invitation to the ultra groups to discuss the deal in a public forum. This was dismissed as a "cosmetic measure" by Fankurve societies angry that Watzke offered no room for real negotiations over the possibility of a re-vote. Moreover, the groups claimed in a joint statement, noting about Watzke's invitation suggested that criticism from the societies was being taken seriously. The unified fan societies specifically took note of the fact that 50+1 wasn't even mentioned in Watzke's statement.

The long-time German footballing administrator, for his part, claimed that interests of Bundesliga fans had been taken into account after an initial vote on the measure failed to gain the needed majority. Watzke insisted that the reformed package that did gain a two-third majority in December added extra protections to further protect German football's fan-ownership model. Watzke remains under fire after one of his previously staunchest allies - Union Berlin President Dirk Zingler - called for a totally transparent re-vote this week.

"We take note of the refusal of the invited fan representatives, yet regret it," Watzke was quoted as saying in a DFL Friday statement, "A willingness to engage in dialogue is always the basis for democratic cooperation. The criticism from club representatives and fan alliances was not ignored in the past. The voting content in December differs fundamentally from that in May. We remain willing to talk."


Related stories

Bundesliga News

Fantasy Football

Tactics Talk

Editor's picks

Profiles

Turn back time