Admin l Wednesday, March 08, 2023
BERLIN – The German football league (DFL) has submitted a proposal to the Germany’s cartel office to amend the 50+1 rule, among other things, providing that there will be no more funding exceptions to the rule, a statement said on Wednesday.
Clubs which have already been granted an exemption, such as Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and VfL Wolfsburg, will still receive a licence to compete in the Bundesliga or the second division under certain conditions.
These include grating representatives of the parent club permanent seats on boards in order to exert more control over owners.
The German 50+1 rule states that clubs must retain a voting majority – and normally also 50+1% of the shares – to stop investors from gaining control.
However, in cases where a person or company has substantially funded a club for a continuous period of 20 years, it was possible for that person or company to own a controlling stake in the club. That won’t be the case any more if the proposed amendment is accepted.
In 2021, the cartel office concluded that the rule was “unproblematic” but raised concerns over the exemptions allowed by the DFL.
While SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp has the majority voting rights at Hoffenheim, Leverkusen are controlled by pharmaceutical giants Bayer and Wolfsburg by German carmaker Volkswagen.
Hopp, however, recently said that he’s ready to return his majority shares to the club without seeking compensation and give up his special exemption from the rule.
Red Bull-backed RB Leipzig only adhere to the 50+1 rule on paper as they reserve the right to reject any membership application and have much higher fees than other German clubs. Under the proposed amendment to the rule, it wouldn’t be possible for Red Bull to take over full control in the future.