DFL investor crisis: Hellmann – “We didn’t manage to convey the advantages”

As of: February 24, 2024 11:55 p.m

Eintracht Frankfurt’s board spokesman blamed the clubs’ communication with their fans for the failure of the investor deal.

We have failed to convey the advantages of this model and the need for investment as the best model“, said Hellmann in the current ZDF sports studio. Hellmann is one of nine members of the DFL executive committee and a supporter of investor entry.

The 36 clubs are responsible for the failure; credibility among fans was lacking in many locations, said Hellmann. “In Frankfurt, we didn’t just start looking for a close connection to the active fan scene in crisis situations“, remarked Hellmann. In this way, he was able to credibly assure in Frankfurt that the DFL was actually defending the “red lines”. At the DFL, the “red lines” meant the exclusion of an investor’s influence on issues such as kick-off times.

DFL investor

Fans celebrate the end of the investor deal – and take a look at 50+1

Hellmann emphasized that, in his view, the investor model would have been more financially advantageous than other proposals. Clubs such as SC Freiburg or 1. FC Köln had publicly preferred financing investments in the future through loans or using existing income.

Hellmann: “Four weeks before, 30 clubs were in favor”

Four weeks before the vote, 30 clubs had spoken out in favor, said Hellmann. “Some clubs noticed that their flow of information to control committees, general meetings and fan scenes was not such that they could stick to their commitment.“In the end there were 24 yes votes.

It is a fundamental problem that this 24th vote can be called into question“said Hellmann.”There is a lack of legitimacy.“What was meant was the vote in December. The suspicion remained until the end that the narrowest necessary majority of 24 of the 36 clubs in the vote was also based on a yes from Hanover’s managing director Martin Kind, even though the parent club had demanded a no. This represents a violation of the 50+1 rule – a key reason for the protest. Hellmann said again that he did not know how Kind voted.

Martin Kind, Managing Director of Hannover 96

Investor deal collapsed after fan protests

The DFL Presidium decided to terminate the process on Wednesday (February 21, 2024) at the suggestion of its spokesman Hans-Joachim Watzke. Watzke said after a meeting of the executive committee in Frankfurt am Main that he had the feeling that the majority of clubs would prefer the DFL to distance itself from the issue. The investor entry had become an ordeal, said Watzke. “It couldn’t be sustained any longer.”

In the previous weeks there had been many protests by active fans in the stadiums, some of which led to long interruptions in the game. More and more clubs are also demanding that there should be another vote on the possible entry of an investor.

Presidium DFL eV

Hans Joachim Watzke

Borussia Dortmund


Oliver Leki

Sc freiburg

1. Deputy

Steffen Schneekloth

Holstein Kiel

2nd deputy

Jan Christian Dreesen

Bayern Munich


Ok Divine

FC St Pauli


Axel Hellmann

Eintracht Frankfurt


Holger Schwiewagner

SpVgg Gr. Fürth


Marc Lenz



Steffen Merkel



The future of the 50+1 rule is coming into focus

On the initiative of the DFL, the Federal Cartel Office should examine the 50+1 rule with regard to its compatibility with competition law. The end of the process was ultimately considered a formality because there was a compromise: This stipulated that the DFL would impose conditions for Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg, where 50+1 did not apply. In addition, there should be no new exceptions to the rule.

Association rules must be transparent, objective, precise and non-discriminatory, the Federal Cartel Office said upon request. Therefore, this must also be demonstrated in its practical application. “This handling can allow conclusions to be drawn as to whether the DFL is consistently and consistently pursuing the goals of the rule“, the cartel office continued. The question now is how the office will assess the Hannover 96 case.