- © DFL
- © DFL

DFL Executive Committee will not continue partner process


21 February 2024 - At its extraordinary meeting in Frankfurt today, the Executive Committee of the DFL e.V. unanimously resolved not to continue the process of entering into a strategic marketing partnership.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, speaker of the DFL e.V. Executive Committee, made the following statement:

“In light of recent developments, it appears that continuing the process successfully is something that is no longer possible. Although there was a significant majority in favour of the necessity of the strategic partnership from a business perspective, German professional football is in the midst of a crucial test of its strength, and this topic has given rise to considerable conflict. This was not limited to within the Ligaverband association between the clubs but also, in some cases, within the clubs themselves: between professional players, coaches, club officials, supervisory bodies, members assemblies and fan communities. That conflict is increasingly putting match operations, specific matches and thus the integrity of the competition at risk. The viability of a successful contract as regards to financing for the 36 clubs can therefore no longer be assured, given the circumstances.

Having considered all the relevant legal aspects, the Executive Committee has reached the conclusion that any further votes would do nothing to find a solution to the problem. The situation began with the vote on 11 December 2023, which resulted in a two-thirds majority, giving the Executive Committee a mandate to enter into an agreement. This vote is regarded as legally valid within the Executive Committee and by legal experts. Nonetheless, the fact that this vote has failed to gain broad acceptance due to the situation with Hannover 96 cannot be ignored, and it is essential for us that we do not ignore it, given the precious asset that we hold in our hands in the form of the 50+1 rule. The Executive Committee of the DFL is unanimously in favour of the 50+1 rule. However, any new vote aimed at establishing that acceptance by resolution would raise further legal questions relating to the assessment of the legally valid decision taken in December 2023, which was not questioned or contested by any club at the time. This could pose the risk of fresh legal questions or even disputes. Avoiding such an eventuality and returning to orderly match operations must be the DFL’s primary objective.

The Executive Committee has therefore unanimously come to the conclusion that, on the basis of the resolution dated 11 December 2023, it will exercise its discretion in not continuing the process and not bringing it to a conclusion in its current form. The Executive Committee of the DFL and the management will be inviting the clubs to talks in the next few weeks to discuss the implications of the process.”