1. FC Cologne has spoken out against the financing model for investments in marketing planned by the German Football League (DFL). “The DFL has significantly improved its investor proposal. But unfortunately it has still not been sufficiently examined whether there are more sensible alternatives to a private equity investor,” explained Vice President Eckhard Sauren to the FAZ, the Sportschau and the on behalf of the club South German newspaper. German football with its history and the commercial approach of a private equity company “did not fit together culturally”. The Rhinelanders consider it “absolutely necessary that only the 36 professional clubs decide on the development of German professional football.”
Just two weeks before the general meeting of the two federal leagues on December 11th, a renewed public controversy about the topic is emerging. The attempt to get the leagues to agree had already failed in May due to the clubs’ objections and vote. Prominent advocates of the deal with a private equity partner, including BVB boss and DFL official Hans-Joachim Watzke, were angry at the time and suggested consequences. 1. FC Köln is now the second first division team after SC Freiburg to take a critical stance on the DFL’s financing concept supported by Watzke. The people of Cologne also believe that investments in modernizing Bundesliga marketing are necessary. However, like the people of Freiburg, they reject the model preferred by the DFL, which is supposed to bring the leagues around one billion euros and in return grants the financier a share in the sales of the license rights for twenty years.
“Once again, alternative financing concepts, especially possible internal financing, were not sufficiently examined. External financing, a corporate partnership or mixed financing would be further options,” said Executive Board member Sauren, who works as a fund manager in the financial business.
A few days ago, SC Freiburg declared that it would not need a partner from the private equity industry to meet the capital requirements estimated by the DFL; the amount could be raised from the clubs’ own resources. The DFL, in turn, is convinced that the connection with an investment company will find the greatest acceptance among the clubs and makes the most economic sense.