Football: DFL: The Adenauer League |

Despite protests from fans and statements from Bundesliga club bosses, the DFL wants investors to come in through the back door.

Photo: dpa/David Inderlied

It was just six months ago that the board of directors of the German Football League, the association of the 36 German first and second division teams, suffered a voting defeat in an attempt to sell off shares in the television rights to an external “league investor”. The bosses, especially Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, had definitely not expected that they would not get the necessary two-thirds majority for this step. During a panel discussion in Dortmund, in which Watzke had little to argue against the three fan representatives, he consistently spoke in the indicative mood after the vote (“We will..”). And in the event of a defeat, he promised that he would “accept” it; after all, one couldn’t “drive a new pig through the village every few weeks.”

In truth, however, the DFL leadership has done nothing other than drive their pigs through the village since then. The organization of new majorities began immediately after the defeat in the vote. CDU member Watzke echoes Adenauer’s most famous quote: “Why do I care about my stupid chatter from yesterday?”

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Of course, concessions were made to the critics, who came primarily from the ranks of the second division clubs. But essentially it’s about the same goal as in May. The league wants to increase revenue. And since not much is happening at the national level anymore, the money has to come from the international “markets”, from Africa, America, and especially from Asia. From wherever the rich Premier League gets its money.

What does this have to do with the investor – the fundamentally friendly private equity companies Advent, Blackstone, VCV are being discussed? Well, he takes the bet and initially gives 900 million euros for part of the television rights – in the hope of getting a multiple back soon. In order for this to work, the league has to become better known abroad, after all there are still people in Chile, Senegal or Vietnam who neither know the last line-up of FC Augsburg nor the name of the Hoffenheim assistant coach. That’s exactly why the DFL wants to distribute 100 million in investors’ money to the clubs that are increasingly flying around the world in order to make themselves and the league better known. Instead of restricting air travel, as was once planned, 100 million euros will go to the clubs that waste the most kerosene as a reward.

It’s obvious why all the fuss is happening: most clubs have long since considered the fact that the astronomically high player salaries – almost every Bundesliga substitute player earns more than the Chancellor – will continue to rise to be a law of nature. How could it be otherwise in the Adenauer League, which wanted to impose humility during the Corona period and has long since moved on with its legs apart and without reflection. We remember: At that time she wanted to cap salaries and learn to get by with the money she had without the first clubs having to file for bankruptcy after three weeks without TV money. Above all, the league wanted to become more “sustainable” and get closer to the real problems of real society. On Monday, it seems almost certain, she will decide on the subtly retouched investor entry.

It’s good to know that the DFL has the right priorities: as early as Monday, the next club will announce in lengthy press releases how “sustainable” they are. Most of the time it’s about ecological feats like saving a few sheets of paper or a call to ride your bike to the stadium, where there are parking spaces only for cars. How often such good news is thought up on an airplane can only be guessed at. In any case, Watzke’s Dortmund team recently sent a private jet to the USA in order to have their four national players home a few hours earlier.

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