Frankfurt - The DFL Deutsche Fussball Liga has given Dietmar Hopp permission to obtain a majority stake holding in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fußball-Spielbetriebs GmbH with effect from 1 July 2015.
The league association board sustains that, in this case, criteria has been met for an exception to be made to the '50+1' rule in the league regulations. The German Football Association (DFB) board still have to confirm the decision before it can come into force.
The decision arises from tribunal guidelines issued in the wake of a complaint by Hannover 96 to abolish the reference to a cut-off date in majority takeovers. Essentially, the evaluation of Hoffenheim's application came down to the fact that Dietmar Hopp has been financially supporting the club both in its amateur and professional form for more than 20 years. As part of a complete evaluation, the support attributable to Dieter Hopp of the Dietmar-Hopp-Stiftung GmbH in favour of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim e.V. and the DHHolding GmbH & Co. KG as well as its predecessor company in favour of the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fußball-Spielbetriebs GmbH have been taken into consideration.
The '50+1' rule provides for a voting majority to be always held by the parent club. The league association board can determine exceptions on request in cases "in which a legal entity has uninterruptedly and significantly supported the football of a parent club for more than 20 years". The board allows for some leeway in judging and evaluating this. During the DFL's general assembly on 4 December 2014, guidelines for the ascertainment and interpration of the regulations were submitted.
1899 Hoffenheim have welcomed the decision by the league association. "Dietmar Hopp fulfils the criteria which are laid out in the rules and regulations of the DFL as regards to the 50+1 rule in an exemplary manner," said club president Peter Hofmann, adding: "His involvement has set new benchmarks while achieving something unique."