The reform has been championed by Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke, who joined interim DFL director Axel Hellmann of Eintracht Frankfurt to discuss the proposed changes at a panel discussion in Dortmund.
Watzke and Hellmann explained that German football required additional investor funds to remain competitive
On May 24th, the German football league body responsible for the country’s top two football flights will vote on a new limited investor model. This reform has been championed by Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke, who joined interim DFL director Axel Hellmann of Eintracht Frankfurt to discuss the proposed changes at a panel discussion in Dortmund. Watzke and Hellmann aimed to address concerns about the new model and reassure fans that it would not pose a threat to German football’s sacred 50 1 fan ownership model. The two men explained that German football required additional investor funds to remain competitive with other European leagues. However, the “on-ramp” model contains guardrails to prevent outside influence from hijacking German football. The proposed model involves a 12.5 per cent stake, spread over 20 years, with limited minority rights.
The DFL director reminded the audience that he had fought for 20 years to preserve this model.
During the discussion, Hellmann emphasized that the proposal had been thoughtfully and carefully formulated to ensure that German football was not compromised. He noted that if the two-thirds majority from the 36 clubs in the top two flights was not achieved, they would move on. Watzke also reaffirmed his commitment to preserving the 50 1 fan ownership model and preventing a Trojan horse from entering through the back door. He reminded the audience that he had fought for 20 years to preserve this model.
“Bad money being thrown at bad money”
However, members of the audience expressed their concerns and asked pointed questions. Nicolai Mäurer, an editor of a Dortmund fan magazine, called for absolute clarity on the 20-year contract that would affect generations of fans. He also criticized the notion of “bad money being thrown at bad money.” Claas Schneider, representing various BVB Ultra alliances, complained about the poor administration of funds by most clubs during the COVID pandemic. He was concerned that giving club managers more money would only compound the problems. Despite these concerns, Hellmann assured the audience that German football had no intention of emulating or overtaking the English Premiership’s business model. His statement was greeted with an appreciative round of cheers.
The fans who spoke at the discussion were often met with rapturous applause. Hellmann received a smattering of applause whenever he answered a direct question. The proposed limited investor model will be put to the vote on May 24th. If it fails to achieve a two-thirds majority, the DFL will move on. As Watzke noted, this is democracy, and they take it very seriously.