Should or should not continue with the policy “50 + 1” (minimum 51% of each club’s shares must be owned by team members), a major controversial topic in Germany in recent years.
Then the topic became more interesting when Leipzig, the thorn in the eyes of the Germans to win the Champions League directly in 2017/18, is it the time for the Germans to untie themselves for their thoughts?
Many people wonder why Germans hate such privatization of football, and it is a very long story about German history. In 1806, Emperor Napoleon’s army took over the Prussian kingdom, a fierce battle broke out in Jena and Auerstedt. Losing the battle, Prussia was subjected to French occupation, but at the same time created a premise for nationalism to rise. In particular, the building of the elite of the army General Gerhard David von Scharnhorst places on top and the foundation is the physical improvement program undertaken by Friedrich GutsMuths.
Associations and clubs about “Turnen” (Fitness) were established. Note that other gymnastics are completely sporty, because there is no winning or losing, but aiming at uniting a nation that was occupied at that time, with the goal of defeating the French. Over time, the influence of fitness clubs spread throughout Prussia. On the contrary, football faces the skepticism of the majority of Germans who think that this is a problem that separates society, so the sport must join gymnastics clubs if they want to survive. With the core principles: Non-profit, community-oriented, benefits for society.
This explains why even though the German League was born in 1903, it was not until 1963 that the Bundesliga – the league championship for professional teams – was born. However, despite starting to operate professionally, the clubs remain loyal to the original principle. And to keep that guideline throughout history, the principle of “50 + 1” is something that immobile with the Germans to keep the team always belong to the community. But it seems time for this principle to become obsolete.
Throughout the length of the Champions League history, apart from Bayern with the backs of giants like Adidas, Audi and Allianz, the remaining German teams rarely compete for the championship. They only had Hamburg in 1983 and Dortmund in 1997 were two rare cases. While in C2 Cup and C3 Europe, they are also completely outdone compared to rivals from England, Italy and Spain, although Germany is always at the top of the world. This reflects that the “50 + 1” policy undermines the competitiveness of German teams. In fact, apart from Bayern, few clubs are able to recruit contracts worth 40-50 million euros, while being regularly “sucked in” by European big men. It is a matter of money, which will determine even greater success in modern football.
Bayern always dominated the first place because they were the richest, while the rest could not create a breakthrough in budget. Behind Bayern and Dortmund are always 6-7 teams competing for two Champions League places, it is also attractive because the team is not too outstanding but when it comes to Europe, it is often eliminated early. Leverkusen as well as Schalke, M’gladbach, or Bremen. Football is certainly the race of money, maybe today Germany still despises Leipzig, but as Bayern President Uli Hoeness once said, it will be time for Germany to accept this fact.