The first abandonment of the match in the first or second. soccer bundesliga It seems only a matter of time. As the dispute over the planned entry of investors into the DFL increases, fans in the stadiums are giving new clear signs of a show of power. One more tennis ball on the Alte Försterei grass and Saturday's match between 1. FC Union Berlin and VfL Wolfsburg would have ended prematurely. This time it was also even in Mönchengladbach and Hamburg.
However, the German football league does not want to be pressured. DFL board member Axel Hellmann made this clear on Welt TV on Sunday, as well as the clear rejection of a new vote by an investor on the planned investment of one billion euros. “If that means that we are heading towards abandoning a match, then it will happen and it will also have to be sanctioned,” explained the spokesman for the Eintracht Frankfurt board of directors: “Because we cannot abandon matches for the sake of uniformity, competitiveness and “The integrity of football allows it.”
Especially in Berlin, it was not long before the match was stopped for the first time due to continued protests by fans after the match had been interrupted for more than 30 minutes in total. Union supporters repeatedly threw tennis balls onto the grass, then yellow felt balls flew from the guest block onto the field. From the stands, fans shouted “tennis balls are not a crime.”
Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac said he understands the protests and demonstrations: “But I think at some point we should find a common way to stop them.”
Camp of fans united in the fight against the German football league
But the paths seem to separate more and more. There are clubs that are in favor of the participation of investors, but also some that have already spoken publicly in favor of a new vote among the 36 professional clubs, including Union Berlin.
Actions such as the cross-shaped banners on Friday afternoon during Hannover 96's match against Hamburger SV could further change the atmosphere between the fans and the real protagonists. “We always hear that football belongs to the fans,” said Hannover coach Stefan Leitl: “But football also belongs to us, the footballers. And we also love this sport.” Righteous protest is fine. “Please don't do anything else in our stadiums.”
Furthermore, organized fan protests do not have the unconditional support of other fans, as Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes has discovered. “Yesterday we also had many fans who whistled. “They cannot understand that there is a interruption,” he said on Sunday, referring to the expressions of discontent from some spectators over the disruptive actions of other fans in the Leverkusen stadium, especially before the main match against FC Bayern.
«Protesting against things is freedom of expression. We should keep this in Germany as much as possible. But interrupting matches is a limit for me,” Rolfes explained on Sport1’s “Doppelpass” program.
“The message came very, very clear”
But further escalation was inevitable. After the DFL offered talks, organized fans reacted with a clear statement and described a new vote on the entry of an investor as if they had no other alternative. “The main thing is that the decision on the investor was not coordinated with the members. When it happened, because there was an annual general meeting, it was rejected,” said Jost Peter from the “Our Curve” association. What happens next clearly depends on the DFL, he stressed.
In Berlin, the fans showed how far they are willing to go. With banners like “private capital locusts without influence?” or “DFL-certified investors: financed with Saudi blood money,” Union Berlin fans stressed.
“The message came very, very clear,” the stadium spokesperson, Christian Arbeit, who is also the Berliner's head of communication, stressed through the outside microphone. In another announcement he said: “We are very, very close to not being able to play this game anymore.”
The previous week HSV's second division match against Hertha BSC had been interrupted for a long time, and on Wednesday last week the Unioner's match against FSV Mainz 05 had been interrupted. Saturday's match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Darmstadt 98 was suspended for several minutes and, in the meantime, Augsburg, where FCA played against RB Leipzig, did not play.
The fans threw the ball hard at the feet of the DFL, but still contained some reserves. Bayern Munich CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen does not believe that even more intense protests by fans will be effective. If the goal of individuals is to influence matches with “unfair means,” he takes that into account: “But that will not change the fundamental attitude of the majority of the 36 Bundesliga clubs,” he told the “Welt am Sonntag.” ”.
A new vote would be legally vulnerable
However, the majority that voted in favor of bringing in a billion-dollar investor last December was very close to the two-thirds majority needed. Particular attention was paid to Hannover's majority shareholder Martin Kind, who had been ordered by the parent club to vote against. It is not clear if he did this.
“We had a valid proxy vote from Martin Kind. We cannot simply say, because the decision has acquired legal validity, that we will vote again. “That would give all other clubs involved the legal opportunity to take action against a possible new vote,” said Hellmann, a member of the DFL executive committee.