MEither equity, lower stadium capacity and greater proximity to the fans: In the struggle for the economic stability of the 3rd division, the Presidium of the German Football Association adopted a package of measures on the recommendation of a task force. In addition, the structure was confirmed as a single-track league. The task force sees “no alternative in the current league system for the third division level,” said the DFB on Friday. “It is particularly important that the structure of the 3rd division is not called into question again in the future,” emphasized Tom Eilers, chairman of the 3rd division committee, after the DFB executive committee meeting in Frankfurt.
According to Eilers, the focus of the task force was “on quality, not quantity”. “It was about strengthening marketing potential, identifying possible cost savings and creating improved self-regulation in the area of expenditure in order to achieve the goal of improved economic stabilization,” he said.
Financial Fair Play
As of the 2023/24 season, the requirements for the capital requirement will therefore be significantly tightened. If an association has negative equity in the future, it must improve it by five percent annually. In the case of relegation from the 2nd Bundesliga, equity may not deteriorate any further. Associations with positive equity must receive this. If this requirement is violated, a point deduction of up to three counters can be imposed, depending on the amount. So far, this was not possible until the third year at the earliest and only a fine was prescribed. In addition, the modified Financial Fair Play will be integrated into the approval process as a condition for the 2023/24 season.
Further changes will take effect for the coming season. The minimum capacity of the stadiums will be reduced from the previous 10,001 to 5001 seats. Above all, this should enable clubs at smaller locations or with a lower fan potential to use it more sustainably in the event of a relegation to the regional league.
These measures are accompanied by a further professionalization in the infrastructural and technical-organizational area. These include increased requirements for floodlights and the specifications for underfloor heating. In addition, from the 2022/23 season onwards, the 20 third division teams will be obliged to hold an open and official fan dialogue at least three times per season and to appoint a full-time fan representative.
“For me, the 3rd league is an attractive part of German football: open, honest, balanced, unpredictable,” said Markus Merk, member of the advisory board at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. “The 3rd league can and should be a league of opportunities for clubs and, above all, young players.” For this reason, the young talent fund, which is filled with almost three million euros, is to be increased significantly. Merk’s wish for the future: “The final whistle of the task force should, with the results achieved, be the kick-off of a more stable 3rd division that is continuously developing.”