Together with its supporter’s scene, the FCSP and the Fanladen published a position paper named “Another professional football is possible – How to reform the German professional football“ (In German language only). This paper is full of so many brilliant ideas, demands and thought-provoking approaches that you should definitely read it in full length. We looked at the topics in detail and summed them up.
(Cover picture by Stefan Groenveld)
In general, we’d like to emphasise that we absolutely back this position paper. Reforms of professional football are overdue since years now and they become more necessary every year as the development is heading into the absolute opposite direction. It’s bad enough that it needed the Corona-crisis, incl. guarantees for clubs that are threatened to go into administration, to point at these structural problems merciless. But this crisis is also offering a once in a lifetime chance to the German professional football to hustle such reforms along (especially as the new distribution key for TV license earnings will be negotiated later this year).
To sum it up briefly, the position paper suggest reforms to the following areas:
- The earnings through TV licenses and sponsoring of all clubs shall be distributed in a way that allows for competition again, even between the top clubs, and that the financial gap between the clubs isn’t enlarging any further. This is the only way to hinder another “rat-race” for the absolutely full money pots. This “rat-race” which emerged within the Corona-crisis did force many clubs to very risky financial manoeuvres. Only a more equal distribution of these earnings can reduce such risks.
- Through financial incentives and new rules, individual clubs shall be prompted to a more sustainable money-spending. This shall be implemented into the process of licensing. Amongst other, the goal is to avoid clubs being dragged into financial precarious situations caused by economic or sportive crises within no time (a fund initiated by the DFL should add to more stability as well).
- The DFL’s board of executives shall be joined by a fan’s council. Democratically legitimized, this council shall participate in the discourse and the decision-making process of the DFL.
- There shall be minimal standards regarding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) integrated into the licensing terms.
- The handling of the transfers of youth’ players and the weighting of youth work in relation to the distribution of TV license earnings should be reformed massively.
To reform the professional football, of course, the lever has to be installed at the cash-flow and the generating of monies respectively. Within the position paper, the demands in this regard are summed up in a table.
The position paper demands nothing less than splitting up and weighting of the earnings of the individual clubs. If a club is receiving money from a patron or through sponsoring of a certain amount which is in relation to other clubs disproportionate, these actions should be 1. avoided and 2. not taken into account within the process of licensing. In this regard, constructs such as Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg, Hertha & Leipzig should feel addressed. And this is the right way to do so!
The earnings, predominantly through TV-licenses, should thereby be distributed more equally to foster a more fair competition (which is then actually becoming a competition again). As the national TV-licenses are still relatively fair distributed, and only after the international TV-earning are taken into account, a massive imbalance is caused, these earnings should be distributed equally between the clubs. The position paper is anyway a pretty clear sign towards such clubs which are participating in the Champions League for ages already. This point is for sure the most critical one.
Additionally, there shall be a fund for economically challenging and unpredictable times initiated, to stabilize the divisions in such causes. (We did already discuss similar things earlier).
Furthermore, the position paper also clearly formulates how clubs that circumvent/flout/smooth the 50+1 rule: They shall be treated negatively when it comes to the distribution of the monies which are generated throughout the divisions to equalize the advantage that such clubs get through the disproportionate donations of their sponsors/patrons.
This is for sure one of the most important points that is due to the Corona-crisis of specific urgency at the moment. Because which clubs do actually have planning security at the moment? For sure not those clubs that are heavily relying on earnings generated from ticketing. No, it’s the clubs which have planning security anyway due to a wealthy sponsor in their background that pays for all of their losses nonetheless. (Greetings to Wolfsburg!). This is, frankly spoken, a massive competitive advantage. And that such club-constructs are not contributing to a raised attractivity of the competition can clearly be seen by the audience figures of pay-TV-broadcasters of the matches. So, it should also be in the interest of Sky for example, when the DFL would reform itself so that those clubs that clearly commit to the basic rules of 50+1 are treated favourable when TV-licence earnings are distributed.
The hope remains that other clubs support this position paper. Because it needs certainly some more clubs’ backing before these points are seriously addressed. And I can already anticipate the moaning from different areas. But this time, there will for sure be other names than “Schweinchen Schlau” [“Smart piggy”] or “mittelmäßiger Zweitligist” [“mediocre second division participant”]. The senders will probably be the same again. Nevertheless or especially because of that, we’d like to emphasise:
Another football is possible – reforms now!
// Tim (Translated by Arne)