Broken DFL deal: beer and bratwurst beats bubbly and caviar

The relationship between football fans and their sport is unique - especially in Germany.

Broken DFL deal: beer and bratwurst beats bubbly and caviar

The relationship between football fans and their sport is unique - especially in Germany. No piece of paper fits between the supporters of a club and their team - especially no banknote. Those responsible for the league have had to experience this the hard way in the past few weeks. “No to investors in the DFL” was emblazoned on posters in the fan curves. Tennis balls were thrown, remote-controlled cars drove through penalty areas, games were about to be canceled.

All to prevent a private equity company from pumping around a billion euros into German football. From the outside it's an absurd spectacle. And yet the fans have shown that it is not big money that rules football, but the (positively) crazy people who make the pilgrimage to the Bundesliga stadiums week after week. And they actually did it. Then a beer!

The league tried to sit out the protests for a long time - now it has given in. “In view of current developments, a successful continuation of the process no longer seems possible,” explained DFL boss Hans-Joachim Watzke in a tight-lipped press release. Just a few days earlier, he implored fans not to escalate the situation any further. But it must also have been clear to him that those same fans would have been prepared to go even further for football, for “their” sport. Escalation for tradition.

Now you can even open the big barrel and symbolically speak of the “little David” in the curves, who showed it to the “big Goliath” in the boxes. Beer and bratwurst versus bubbly and caviar. The fans in the stadiums are not the dwarfs that one or two DFL officials apparently think they are. They have shown that the league needs them. Without the sold-out stadiums, the choreographies and the atmosphere in the stands, there isn't much left of the planned high-gloss product.

With the protests, the active fan scene has shown who is actually dependent on whom and that fan culture in Germany is not an interchangeable gossip audience.

For months, the league bosses repeated mantra-like how important additional money was in order to keep up with the big players in the industry. Without wanting to admit that the fans may not want a smooth event product called football - even if that might mean that the Champions League titles from 2025 to 2030 go to England or Spain. Supporters of a club think from game to game anyway (three euros in a phrase), very few people reduce their fandom to the success of a team. This may seem strange to the business administration group in the boardrooms.

One of the most common reasons for arguments in a relationship is money. And as we all know, (too) much of it doesn't make you happy. Football fans in Germany have clearly shown that they prefer to love with heart and soul in modest circumstances rather than in a golden cage. And you will feel this love again – next weekend at the latest.

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