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Neujahresempfang: DFL stellt Weichen – 50+1 und Rechteverkauf vor Klärung

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As of: 01/17/2023 4:14 p.m

German professional football faces important decisions in the first half of the year. At the New Year’s reception, the DFL announced that a decision should be made quickly on the 50+1 rule and the sale of rights to investors.

Leki, CFO at SC Freiburg, will lead the DFL together with Axel Hellmann until June 30, 2023 after Donata Hopfen left License rights are sold to an investor.

The German Football League will be led interim by Eintracht Frankfurt’s Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki from SC Freiburg.

“What can we do ourselves, where do we possibly need partners?” Hellmann asked without going into detail about the question. He only added that “we feel the pressure from many markets, not only from the player market but also from the media market.”

Leki: “Return the 50+1 rule to a factual level”

Beyond the speeches on the podium, the powerful protagonists did not want to comment on the topics raised, including the chairman of the supervisory board, Hans-Joachim Watzke, who has increasingly become the central figure in German football in recent months.

Hans-Joachim Watzke has risen to become the most important German football official because there has been a power vacuum alongside him. The importance of the BVB boss is particularly great these days.

The 50+1 rule has been an explosive topic for years, especially with regard to members and fans. It states that an association must hold the majority in a spin-off corporation. In other European top leagues, investors have long had the right to buy up to 100 percent of the shares and thus also to determine.

Dialogue with cartel office

For the Federal Cartel Office, the 50+1 rule is legal, but the authority complained that the three Bundesliga clubs Bayer Leverkusen (chemical giant Bayer), VfL Wolfsburg (car company VW) and TSG Hoffenheim (patron Dietmar Hopp) were granted exceptions.

How to deal with these exceptions, the DFL wants to clarify in dialogue with the cartel office. The spectrum ranges from the exclusion of the three clubs from the league to a complete opening for investors. However, it is not to be expected that one of the extremes will come into play. A statement by Leki also indicated this: “Despite all the emotionality, we should bring the topic back to a factual level. We are not on the battlefield.”

The league hinted at the possible sale of license rights, presumably in the media sector, months ago. There were rumors about potential buyers and also proceeds in the range of billions of euros.

Speculation about possible sale of license rights

However, the DFL has never made any specific statements, and it stayed that way at the New Year’s reception. According to information from the sports show, many of the 36 clubs under the umbrella of the DFL have not yet been introduced to the key according to which the money should then be distributed. Since it would be a one-off proceeds and future income could be available at short notice, there are likely to be clubs that want the deal to be completed as quickly as possible, but also representatives of the perhaps more economically sensible option.

With the basic contract, which regulates the distribution of money between the amateur and professional camps and expires on June 30th, there is another important topic in the first half of the year.

Watzke calls for courageous decisions

Hans-Joachim Watzke called for unity in Offenbach: “There is only one football.” The managing director of Borussia Dortmund expressed five wishes as the head of the supervisory board of the DFL. One of them was being more confident again. “I keep hearing they have a lot more money in England. So what? We still have seven clubs in Europe.” Watzke called for courageous decisions: “As one of the largest economies in the world, we must not become doubters.” With a view to the 2024 European Championship in Germany, he said: “This is a huge opportunity for German football. In the year and a half until then we have to pool all our strengths.”

The official also asked the media to get on board. With a view to the critical reporting on the World Cup host Qatar, he said bitingly: “If a World Cup is so destroyed in the run-up to it, that’s no use to anyone, not even the guest workers.”

The 2022 World Cup is over. Argentina wins the final against France and is now a three-time world champion. Sportschau reporter Burkhard Hupe takes stock.

Four weeks of World Cup in Qatar come to an end. The host got what he wanted for a lot of money. The criticism is justified. A personal record.

On Thursday (01/19/2023) Watzke will meet again with the task force, which is expected to propose Rudi Völler as the new sports director of the German Football Association (DFB), responsible for the national team. Asked about it directly, Völler dodged. A refusal after he had asked for time to think would come as a surprise.

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