The League abandons a project with CVC under pressure from supporters

2024-02-21 17:34:19

While in France, the agreement made between the League and CVC two years ago is coming back like a boomerang on French football, Germany prefers to say no. Well, under duress. The German Football League (DFL), which organizes the Bundesliga, announced on Thursday that it had abandoned a planned agreement with the Luxembourg investment fund, after strong protests from supporter groups across the country.

“In view of current developments, a successful continuation of the process no longer seems possible,” said Hans-Joachim Watzke, spokesperson for the DFL presidium, after a meeting in Frankfurt. Supporters have been protesting for several weeks against this project, in particular by disrupting matches by throwing objects (tennis balls, sweets, etc.) onto the pitches, forcing frequent interruptions.

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The 36 professional clubs in the first and second divisions initially decided to call on CVC in December, in order to “guarantee long-term sustainable success” of the professional league. In exchange for 8% of future television rights, the League was to receive a windfall of nearly a billion euros to help it market and promote the Bundesliga internationally, whose image is far from reaching that of the English and Spanish championships, despite prestigious clubs like Bayern Munich and full stadiums.

The League backwards

The League finally bowed to the bronca of supporters, even though “there is a large majority in favor of the entrepreneurial necessity of a strategic partnership” with an investor, lamented Hans-Joachim Watzke.

German professional football finds itself “in the middle of a test which takes place (…) between clubs, but also within clubs between professionals, coaches, managers, supervisory bodies, general assemblies and communities of supporters”, according to the spokesperson for the League.

“A good day for German football fans”

Germany’s powerful fan organizations opposed the deal, saying its process lacked transparency and essentially led to “over-commercialization” of their sport.

At the heart of the debates is the so-called 50+1 rule, which requires German clubs to hold at least 50% plus one vote of the rights and thus maintain control over major decisions. “It’s a good day for German football fans,” said Thomas Kessen, spokesperson for the “Our Curve” supporters association, interviewed by SID.

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