By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Bochum and Wolfsburg announce donation plans for tennis balls collected during protest waves

The managing heads of most all major German footballing clubs - in confirming that the final private investor had pulled out of negotiations with the DFL over a strategic partnership in a new licensing deal - have issued statements noting that the voices of German football fans have been heard and shall be respected. This included Borussia Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke, the biggest proponent of allowing an investor into the process. 

Representatives from all the major consolidated German ultra groups have also declared the matter to be closed. The match disruptions will now cease along with the DFL's negotiations with any potential investor for the time being. Two top-tier German sides have revealed what they shall do with all the tennis balls collected during the ongoing protests over the past three weeks. 

Despite widespread interruptions over the past few weeks, no matches in either of Germany's top two footballing flight were abandoned due to the scenes.
Expecting to be collecting tennis balls thrown from the stands this weekend, most all German footballing clubs in the first and second German footballing division prepared their stewards with special collection bins to store the projectiles thrown onto the pitch. Two German top-tier clubs have now announced what they plan to do with their large hauls.

VfL Wolfsburg - whose ultras also protested the proposed DFL investor deal with tennis balls despite belonging to a non-50+1 club - will be donating the balls to local daycare and kindergarten facilities. This was confirmed to the local Wolfsburger Nachrichten by a club spokesperson after initially being reported on in Germany's main sporting tabloid.

VfL Bochum also confirmed that they planned to donate the balls to local schools and the club's very own "Blau-Weißer Bewegungsraum" project; an initiative that helps promote sport amongst the local youth. VfL Bochum wingback Maximilian Wittek - obviously in a fabulous mood after his side upset German giants FC Bayern München on Sunday - joked that he had uses for the balls in his post-match interview.

"I love playing paddle tennis," Wittek told German broadcaster DAZN, "So I could definitely use a ball or two."

German ultra groups and fan societies have been taking a collective victory lap after it was confirmed yesterday that the final potential private equity fund looking to engage in a partnership with the DFL over a new media rights deal had withdrawn from negotiations. The protests have obviously haver obviously accomplished their desired objectives. Bundesliga fans will surely continue to flash banners this coming weekend, but projectiles will remain in the stands.

One of the three firms negotiating with the DFL over rights deals - Sweden's EQT - was rejected by the DFL itself over concerns that certain "red lines" of influence might be crossed. The manner in which the fans continued to disrupt matches over the last weeks compelled the remaining two (America's Blackstone and Luxembourg-based CVC) to back away from any association with future German footballing media rights.

"From the point of view of active football fans and all members of the clubs in Germany, this is of course a great success," Thomas Kessen - President of Germany's largest consolidated ultra group, "Unsere Kurve", told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur yesterday "Today is a good day for Germany's football fans."

Heads of tow of the other largest fan societies in the Bundesrepublik - Faszination Fankurve and Finanzwende - also lauded the fan protest movement, calling it a "huge victory for civil society over big money". BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke - from the very beginning the deal's biggest proponent - reiterated, admitted that the fans forced the DFL to "shelve" the process.

Though Watzke still spoke of the need to raise additional capital in order to "ensure an affordable stadium" experience, the veteran German football administrator issued a statement conceding that the interruptions rendered "continuation of the process unsustainable".

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