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Dortmund fans with banners

Photo: Noah Wedel / IMAGO

With the abrupt cancellation of the billion-dollar deal with an investor, the German Football League (DFL) has bowed to the will of some fans. The negotiations with the financial investor CVC were ended. In a press release, the DFL cited, among other things, the desire to return to "orderly game operations." After supporters protested against the DFL's plans for weeks with various actions, the organized fan scene sees itself as a winner.

“From the perspective of active football fans and all members of the clubs in Germany, this is of course a great success,” said Thomas Kessen, spokesman for the fan organization “Our Curve,” to the German Press Agency. »It shows that German football is member-based and democratic; and that you have to take these members with you in such groundbreaking decisions." Today is "a good day for Germany's football fans."

The “very comprehensive, but very peaceful, creative protests” were crucial to the success, said Kessen. A number of games in the first and second leagues had to be interrupted in recent weeks, sometimes several times, because fans threw tennis balls, mini-vehicles or sweets onto the field. “Fan protests were successful,” wrote the “Faszination Fankurve” alliance at X.

“This process has been shelved”

Hans Joachim-Watzke, spokesman for the DFL executive committee and chairman of the supervisory board, believes a new beginning is necessary. “This process has been shelved,” said Watzke about the investor entry. "We won't pursue this issue with a partner who invests in a subsidiary or something like that any further."

Watzke himself would have "continued the process," but because of the "unpleasant circumstances that existed" and because "there is no longer a majority," the decision was made to break off the talks. Nevertheless, he emphasized that there was a need for action. It is clear "that we have to do something somehow if we want to present ourselves a little better abroad as the Bundesliga or if we want to market ourselves better," said Watzke, who is also club boss of Borussia Dortmund.

This is how the football clubs reacted

Three professional clubs also spoke up. VfB Stuttgart welcomed “this understandable decision by the DFL executive committee, which allows all of us who love football to come together again.” Stuttgart's President Claus Vogt had previously announced that he was in favor of a new vote on investor entry. At FC Augsburg, the DFL's approach is also considered correct. “It is important that this decision is not used by supporters to force the division of the leagues,” said Michael Ströll, managing director of the FCA.

Thomas Herrich, managing director of second division club Hertha BSC, called the step the right decision given the overall situation. What will now be crucial is how the DFL and its clubs will align themselves in the future and what long-term objectives will be agreed upon that can sustainably strengthen the leagues. Watzke announced discussions about this.

When the 36 professional clubs voted on investor entry in December last year, the necessary two-thirds majority was only just achieved. The lack of transparency of the vote was then complained about and the vote of Hannover's club boss Martin was questioned, who had apparently voted for the deal contrary to his club's instructions.