Football: the German championship disrupted by the anger of the supporters

Throws of tennis balls or chocolate coins

Football: the German championship disrupted by the anger of the supporters

Throws of tennis balls or chocolate coins. Delayed kick-offs, interrupted matches… German football fans are not happy and they are making it known. At issue: the agreement concluded in December 2023 between two-thirds of the members of the National League (DFL) and a group of investors.

This concerns the transfer of a share of future television rights, up to 8%, in exchange for a capital contribution to help with the marketing and international promotion of the championship. “The goal is for the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 [the 2nd division] to remain competitive both in sporting and commercial terms,” justified the DFL in a press release.

Believing that the said agreement lacks transparency and is not democratic, fans are demanding a new vote. Especially since a year ago, a similar proposal had already been rejected.

Despite high stadium attendance and a solid television broadcast contract in Germany, interest in the championship beyond the country's borders is less than that in its English counterparts, the Premier League, and Spain , La Liga. On the other side of the Channel, global revenues represent a significant part of club resources, enough to emulate across the Rhine.

Several “red lines”

German clubs must respect the so-called “50:1” rule, which guarantees control of their members and limits the influence of outside investors. A device to which supporters are very attached. However, according to its detractors, the December agreement was taken on the sly, without guaranteeing that club representatives voted in accordance with the instructions of their members.

According to supporters, there is much more at stake than just participation in television rights revenue: it is about a vision and a model of football.

The agreement defined several "red lines", notably ensuring that the DFL, and not the investors, would decide on kick-off times or the scheduling of matches, as well as the sustainability of the "50-1" rule. ". But fans doubt whether these commitments will be respected.

In statements on Tuesday to the German sports news subsidiary of Agence France-Presse, the DFL said that one of the potential investors, the American investment fund Blackstone, had decided to withdraw, not 'leaving only one in the running. But the discontent of the supporters has not yet calmed down.