English football could follow Germany's fan-friendly 50+1 ownership model to avoid another European Super League crisis

English football could follow Germany's fan-friendly 50+1 ownership model to avoid another European Super League crisis

04/22/2021

GOVERNMENT officials are considering mandating English football to adopt the German model of majority fan ownership.

Bundesliga teams must ensure at least a 51 per cent stake in the club is held by supporters – although there are exceptions.


The German FA (DFB) does not allow any side where more than 49 per cent is owned by private investors to compete, unless they can meet strict rules.

For example, 75 per cent of Bayern Munich is owned by the supporters' club and members vote on its president, with the remaining 25 per cent split between Audi, Adidas and Allianz.

Any team owned by a single person or company was typically formed by that entity, such as car manufacturer Volkswagen, who founded top-flight club Wolfsburg in 1945.

Should an investor hope to take majority control of a club, they need to have consistently invested for 20 years such as Hoffenheim chief Dietmar Hopp.

Software magnate Hopp has nonetheless faced huge criticism from rival clubs for guiding the historically small club to European football.

Introducing such a system to English football is being mooted following the European Super League debacle.

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Clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United signed up to the doomed plot having failed to consult supporters or players.

And UK Government culture secretary Oliver Dowden has refused to rule out implementing a fan ownership model.

He told talkSPORT: "Naturally we’ve got to learn the lessons from the crisis in football financing during the Covid crisis.

"We need to put this on a more sustainable footing.

"For example in the German leagues they have a different governance structure so it’s right we look at those things.

"The PM was good, I had a meeting with him and fans on Tuesday and he said we had to do whatever it took and that includes legislation and if legislation is required we’ll do that.

"But the immediate legislation we were preparing to pull together was to deal with this immediate threat from this outrageous proposal."

Boris Johnson has stated that a 'root-and-branch investigation' will be overseen by former sports minister Tracey Crouch to review English football's governance and to 'promote the role of fans in that governance'.

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WHAT IS THE 50+1 OWNERSHIP MODEL?

German football clubs are mandated to be at least 51 per cent-owned by supporters.

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are both largely fan-owned with minority shares held by private individuals or companies.

Some clubs are privately owned, if they are founded by a company (Wolfsburg, RB Leipzig) or an individual invests in the team for more than 20 years (Hoffenheim).

Benefits include a greater say on club affairs, cheaper tickets and more transparency, although there have been challenges to the rules.

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