The fans win. Bundesliga rejects privatization agreement

BERLIN-. The German Football League (DFL) announced that it is abandoning the controversial agreement with private investors to share the broadcasting rights of the Bundesliga in exchange for a capital contribution to help with the international marketing and promotion of the championship.

“Due to events, it does not seem possible to successfully continue this process,” DFL Steering Committee spokesman Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement, alluding to the protest campaign by fans across the country. country in recent weeks.

As a way to boycott that agreement, fans had organized to throw tennis balls, chocolate coins and other objects on the grass, with the aim of delaying or interrupting the matches. The frequent stoppages in play and delays worried the players, who complained of the damage caused to their work.

The 36 professional clubs in the first division (Bundesliga) and the second (Bundesliga 2) decided in December to turn to an investor, the CVC fund, to “guarantee long-term lasting success” of their professional league.

In exchange for 8% of the future television rights, the DFL was to receive a significant capital of around one billion euros to help it market and promote the Bundesliga internationally.

The image and impact of the German league is far from that of the champions of England or Spain, despite the attractiveness of clubs like Bayern Munich and the enormous success of the German stadiums, which are often full.

The December decision came after the first failure of a similar project last May.

Organizations and fan groups opposed the agreement, stating that the process had been tainted by a lack of transparency and that it led to “over-commercialization” of the sport.

In the debate was whether the so-called ’50+1 rule’, which requires German clubs to maintain at least 50% plus one vote of the rights for their own members, against possible external investors, was threatened. With the validity of this rule, the clubs maintain control of their own decisions and the fans feared that it was a first step against that principle.

“It’s a good day for German football fans,” Thomas Kessen, spokesman for the ‘Our Curve’ association, told AFP affiliate SID.