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Fans in Germany break off talks with DFL and DFB, promise more protests

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The fans are frustrated that talks with the DFB and DFL fizzled out too quickly and aren’t ready to be quiet.

1. CfR Pforzheim v Bayer Leverkusen - DFB Cup
PFORZHEIM, GERMANY - AUGUST 18: Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen in action while Bayer Leverkusen let of flares during the DFB Cup match between 1. CfR Pforzheim and Bayer Leverkusen on August 18, 2018 in Pforzheim, Germany
1. CfR Pforzheim v Bayer Leverkusen - DFB Cup PFORZHEIM, GERMANY - AUGUST 18: Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen in action while Bayer Leverkusen let of flares during the DFB Cup match between 1. CfR Pforzheim and Bayer Leverkusen on August 18, 2018 in Pforzheim, Germany
(Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Several clubs staged protests of the DFB and DFL during their respective first round DFB-Pokal matches over this past weekend, and fans in Germany promise that the protests will continue.

Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, FC Kaiserslautern, and Dynamo Dresden fans all unfurled banners during their respective matches in a loosely coordinated effort to protest the DFB and DFL. The banners read: “DFB/DFL: you will hear from us!” Leverkusen fans also displayed a banner that read, “An agreement with the DFB is not worth paper it’s written on,” and FC Nürnberg ultras chimed in with a banner that alleged that the DFB had “failed all along the line” during their match against Linx.

As the first round of the DFB-Pokal concluded on Monday (August 20th), a collective base of fan groups across Germany’s leagues announced that they have officially abandoned talks with the DFL and DFB for the time being. They further promised that the protests will continue and, more likely than not, intensify. An official statement, as reported by DW, was shared by multiple fan groups, including Stuttgart’s “Commando Cannstatt,” Hertha Berlin’s “Harlekins Berlin,” and Magdeburg’s “Block-U.” The statement expressed fans’ frustration at the lack of progress on discussions that supposedly started last year:

It has become clear that the sport of football is to be torn even further away from its cultural and social roots and gutted on the altar of profit and greed. After two meetings between fan representatives and representatives of the DFB and DFL, the initial euphoria quickly dissipated. We increasingly got the impression that, as in previous decades, they were only using media-friendly words to avoid any actual action.

Concerns within the fan groups has peaked for several reasons: the introduction of Monday night fixtures in the Bundesliga, a new set of rules and restrictions on fans set forth by the DFB, the threat of greater police presence at matches, and changes to the promotion system in Germany’s five regional fourth divisions.

The fan groups also hoped to reach an agreement with the DFB as to what items may to be brought into the stands during matches, such as flags, megaphones, speakers, drums and other musical instruments. Some socio-political issues that have been put in the limelight in the fallout of the German National team’s exit from the World Cup have also caused outcries across the country.

Lastly, to close out the statement from the fan groups, they vowed to continue protesting throughout the upcoming season until the DFB and DFL decide to engage in discussions once again:

We see no other option but to end all talks with immediate effect and continue our protests inside the stadiums with greater engagement than ever. We remain motivated to stand up for the basic values of football and against corruption and commercialization, and we know we can count on tens of thousands of supporters across the country. You will hear from us this season, too!