Football, Bundesliga: Super League chief lobbyist cancels DFL

Status: 05/26/2023 1:26 p.m

The DFL received the next rejection when looking for a new managing director. Candidate Bernd Reichart, currently chief lobbyist for the Super League, rejects the post.

“I’m working on the sustainability of European football at international level. I’m not available for the task at the DFL,” said the 49-year-old Reichart on Friday (May 26, 2023) of the German Press Agency.

The industry magazine “Horizont” had previously reported that the current CEO of the Spanish sports marketing company A22 is likely to become the new DFL boss. Accordingly, the DFL leadership around the chairman of the supervisory board, Hans-Joachim Watzke, is said to have agreed on Reichart as the new CEO. Above all, Watzke, who is also the managing director of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, is said to have favored Reichart. The DFL did not want to comment on the report when asked.

No investor for the German Football League (DFL) – an application for the involvement of an investor missed the required two-thirds majority, the search for investors is over. Several clubs made their dissenting voices public, the DFL is divided.

Even without the billions of euros from an investor, the German Football League, which is riddled with deep cracks, must and wants to rethink its business model. There are big tasks ahead.

According to information from the sports show, Reichart, whose company is lobbying for the new attempt to found a Super League, was at least a promising candidate.

Bayern board members Dreesen and Kaenzig also in conversation

After the abrupt end of the investor process, the DFL is looking for a new manager to fill the position. The dual leadership with Axel Hellmann (at the same time CEO of Eintracht Frankfurt) and Oliver Leki (CFO SC Freiburg), installed after the separation from Donata Hopfen in December 2022, will end as planned on June 30th. “For us it is clear that we will present a new CEO in July”the head of the supervisory board Watzke announced after the extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday in Frankfurt am Main.

Watzke is said to have previously tried to persuade Hellmann and Leki and after Leki’s “No” Hellmann alone to become boss of the DFL. However, there were cancellations, both extended their contracts with the clubs.

According to reports, Jan-Christian Dreesen is now being interviewed for the top post at the umbrella organization. The FC Bayern board should also play a role in the future plans of the troubled record champions. Ilja Kaenzig, boss at Bundesliga club VfL Bochum, is also traded.

Media rights experience

The new person has to mediate and arbitrate in the coming months after the billion-euro deal has burst, because in the process and through the vote (necessary two-thirds majority of 20 “yes”, eleven “no” and five abstentions missed) “a lot went lost trust”, as Watzke said in Frankfurt.

Before joining A22, Reichart was also Managing Director of Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. He also worked for UFA Sports (later Sportfive) and in marketing for the Spanish top club Real Madrid. Since the tender for the audiovisual rights, from the sale of which German professional football is mainly financed, is imminent, Reichart’s experience would certainly have been in demand.