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Fan protests: Anyone who derives from this a class struggle between capital and the curve is wrong

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Fan protests: Anyone who derives from this a class struggle between capital and the curve is wrong

Opinion fan protests

Anyone who derives from this a class struggle between capital and the curve is wrong

Status: 22.02.2024 | Reading time: 4 minutes

Shell game trick 96? Martin Kind’s dubious role in the DFL vote

Quelle: Bongarts/Getty Images/Thomas F. Starke

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The failure of the billion-dollar deal in German professional football is causing dismay among the DFL leadership. The dilemma of the arrogant bosses is their own fault. The fan protests were only about money of secondary importance.

A week ago, applicant Blackstone withdrew, and now the DFL threw in the towel in the negotiations surrounding the billion-dollar investor deal with German professional football. In view of current developments, a successful continuation of the process no longer seems possible,” explained DFL Supervisory Board Chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke succinctly. The decisive sentence, if it is true, followed from him: “Even if there is a large majority in favor of the entrepreneurial necessity of the strategic partnership.”

The fact that in the end it was not possible to complete the deal despite the majority and the sense of purpose must be seen as a disgrace for Watzke and his colleagues. The failure is the result of poor preparation, in which overestimation of oneself and arrogance ensured that the most important element was consistently missing during the process: conviction.

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The DFL leadership refrained from dialogue; there was a lack of tact. The ongoing protests by active fan groups, who provoked game interruptions in the Bundesliga and Second League by throwing tennis balls, chocolate coins and candies, were as annoying as they were understandable.

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However, anyone who derives from this an ideological class struggle between capital and the curve is wrong. “The decision shows that the penetration of financial market logic into all areas of life is not a law of nature. Public pressure from civil society can also stop big money,” says the managing director of the citizens’ movement Finanzwende – and he is wrong.

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For many Protestants, the actions were less about the issue itself and more about the way in which the DFL wanted to achieve its goal. A decision by the professional clubs to bring in an investor would almost certainly have been criticized by the curves, but perhaps also accepted. Ultimately, the event was relatively insignificant, with eight percent of media revenue sold over the next 20 years.

Kind’s “Yes” as the initial of the protests

Anyone who reduces the supposed power struggle between the DFL leadership and the active fan scene to the content component is simply misunderstanding the chronology of the events. In May 2023, the 36 clubs gave a clear vote in their vote. With 20 yes votes, eleven no votes and five abstentions, the necessary two-thirds majority was clearly missed. “Sometimes life is simple. This is democracy. There was a clear majority, but not the one we wanted. “As of today, the issue is therefore over,” Watzke said at the time.

Instead, work was immediately carried out on a new vote – contrary to the actual vote. Instead of convincing club representatives and the public of the necessity and urgency of the issue, backroom deals were made. In order to get the 24 yes votes, they were apparently even prepared to accept a violation of the 50+1 rule.

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In December 2023, the DFL leadership seemed to have achieved its goal, but even the secret vote could not prevent it from becoming all too clear how the required 24th yes vote had come about. After the ten no votes and the two abstentions were publicly announced, it became clear that managing director and investor Martin Kind, as a representative of Hannover 96 GmbH, must have apparently voted against the instructions of the parent association Hannover 96 eV.

Charm wasn’t enough for the prankster this time: Hans-Joachim Watzke, DFL supervisory board chairman, had another vote in December

Source: dpa/Christian Charisius

Numerous club representatives, members and fans felt pulled through the stadium by the nose. The protests were the understandable and correct consequence. The perseverance that the curves showed in their actions may have surprised the officials far from the base. The old patterns of appeasement did not work this time.

And: In contrast to pyrotechnic excesses, questionable posters and violent scenarios, the reaction from the main stands and back straight remained moderate. Hardly any whistles, few boos, even the annoying interruptions in the game were accepted with little or no complaint. Creative forms of protest, such as remote-controlled cars cruising across the lawn, even received applause.

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In this respect, the DFL’s admission is above all a victory for transparency, a triumph for democracy. If the football bosses learn a lesson from the dilemma, it will hopefully be this: ideas, plans and necessary decisions must be explained and well prepared in compliance with existing rules. Gladly in a shared dialogue. What is needed are arguments, not shell-player tricks.

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