Bundesliga: The DFL dilemma | nd-aktuell.de

Protest felt: Tennis balls now regularly rain in German stadiums.


The federal election was partially repeated in Berlin on Sunday. The irregularities at the original date in September 2021 were too great. As is well known, half a dozen club representatives from the first and second league believe that the vote on investor entry into the German Football League (DFL), which took place in December, is being repeated. Including those of Karlsruher SC, VfB Stuttgart and FC Hansa Rostock, who voted “yes” at the time. Their argument is the same as that of the Federal Constitutional Court, which intervened in the Berlin election: If the legitimacy of a vote is in question, its result is also illegitimate.

The fact that the discussion about a repeat vote has gained such momentum is only indirectly due to the fan protests. Although they are so massive and so persistent that one or two club representatives may have thought about whether they had done themselves a favor with their voting behavior in their own club. Michael Welling, a club representative, got the ball rolling. The managing director of the second division club VfL Osnabrück announced at the beginning of February that his club would request that there should no longer be secret votes at the DFL level in the future. This is the only way to “guarantee that the club representatives implement the will of the club and members during DFL votes and act in accordance with the idea of ​​50+1.”

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During the vote in December, the investor entry was decided in a secret vote with a two-thirds majority of the 36 professional clubs. A single vote made the difference. The suspicion remains unchallenged (including by himself) that this came from Hannover 96 boss Martin Kind, whom the club had instructed to vote “no”. If the requirement of transparency is ignored in such a way, says Welling, one must admit that “in conjunction with the narrow voting result, this is not helpful for acceptance.”

Since then, other club representatives have argued similarly. Above all, Claus Vogt, who, as president of VfB Stuttgart, was the first representative of a first division club to bring a “renewed, transparent vote of all 36 clubs” into play. Dirk Zingler, President of Union Berlin, KSC Managing Director Michael Becker and Robert Marien, Chairman of Hansa Rostock, joined. At least Vogt wants to “calm down the situation in the stadiums.”

You can also hear from other clubs that during the winter break the membership put forward good arguments against investors joining. It was a mistake to rush through the vote in December without a thorough discussion at the grassroots level. Recently, the protests in the stadiums were particularly violent; the game between Hertha BSC Berlin and HSV only started again after 32 minutes; Interruptions of a quarter of an hour like last Sunday in Stuttgart are not uncommon. This is probably also due to the fact that the Fairness United alliance, which emerged from the anti-Qatar movement, had recently published research results under the heading “Locusts, the possible ‘partners’ of the DFL” that both candidates were league investors, CVC and Blackstone, also made money through rent extortion, dubious sports betting and even child labor. Both financial entrepreneurs are also said to be supported by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund. “There is blood on your hands,” has been written on fan banners ever since.

Behind closed doors, club representatives who voted for investors in December now also believe that they have major problems with business relationships with Saudi Arabia. Most clubs have launched diversity campaigns and anti-sexual harassment awareness programs in recent months. Relations with an obviously homophobic and misogynistic state are all too contradictory.

Blackstone withdrew from the proceedings on Tuesday evening. And obviously not least because of the fan protests and the subsequent social debate. It will now be exciting to see how the curves act on the next match day. The logic of the past few weeks is followed by a further escalation, which, given the situation, could only be a complete abandonment of the game. Most curves (still) shy away from this. In addition, the referee only has to declare a game abandoned if a game has to be interrupted for more than 45 minutes: It is questionable whether so many tennis balls get into the stands unnoticed.

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