German soccer could revisit a controversial investment deal, leading figures indicate

Mon, Aug 21, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

German soccer could revisit a controversial investment deal, leading figures indicate

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The top men's soccer clubs in Germany could reconsider a major investment deal that failed to go through last season, two leading figures have indicated.

A controversial plan to sell a one-eighth share of the worldwide broadcast rights to investors for the top two divisions over 20 years was defeated in May when it fell four votes short of the required two-thirds majority of the 36 clubs. It had been reported the estimated deal, which sparked protests by fans, could have raised 2 billion euros ($2.18 billion).

Comments, however, by Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, who also has a senior role with the league, and Eintracht Frankfurt supervisory board chair Philip Holzer suggested the investment deal - or something like it - could be revived.

"Personally I can imagine the project again needs to be revised and redesigned," Watzke told the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper's Monday edition. "Probably we should put together a smaller package and focus on the topics of internationalization and digitalization."

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Watzke added that "my impression is that some clubs which voted against see the situation differently since then."

Holzer told Kicker magazine's Monday edition he regretted the deal put forward in May hadn't passed, and that he wished the league would make another effort.

He indicated clubs were too cautious and didn't consider long-term benefits. "I was told too much about risks instead of about opportunities. A typically German problem," he said.

Fan groups were bitterly opposed to the investment deal that was defeated, with protest banners a frequent sight at Bundesliga games amid concerns the proposal would give investors sway over how competitions were run.

Advocates of the deal, including some of Germany's biggest clubs, argued the league needed a boost of extra short-term income to modernize its marketing and avoid falling behind other major European leagues, and that clubs could renovate their facilities.

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