The 50+1 rule has long kept huge investor deals at bay in Germany, since it requires at least 51% of a club’s shares to be owned by members. This may have to change, however, according to Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer. Hainer recently stated that clubs should be free to decide on whether they want to fall behind the rule or not.
In an interview with ZDF, covered by AZ, Hainer said, “You have to see as a matter of fact that the 50+1 rule has not helped certain clubs now. In this respect, of course, you have to rethink that. I think that it should be left to the clubs themselves to decide how many shares they want to give up.”
Hainer noted that Bayern’s own rule is even stricter, allowing a maximum of 30%. He said, “The rules that we have imposed on ourselves are even stricter than 50+1. I think that you can leave this decision to the individual clubs themselves. Some need more capital, the others less. And the clubs should then decide for themselves.”
The 50+1 rule has been one of the reasons that has set the Bundesliga apart from the rest of Europe, and for good reason. Advocates argue that it ensures that German clubs retain their culture, philosophy, and fidelity to the ideals of the club members and fans.
Hainer expressed his confidence that Bayern will come out of the crisis in a good position, both economically and in terms of personnel, believing that “[Bayern] will weather the crisis well.” But he iterates that FC Bayern don’t have infinite resources and “that’s why it’s important for us that we come back again.”
Hainer also advocated the resumption of Bundesliga matches in the form of ghost games. He said, “Of course, the economic substance of many clubs is important. And that’s why it’s important that we can come back and play football again. The fact is, if we don’t play, it will cease to remain the league it is today.”
Hopefully, that is the case and we get to see some BL action soon!
The 50+1 rule has long served as a barrier, preventing hungry foreign investors from swooping in. This may not be subject to change in the near future, especially in big clubs like Bayern and Dortmund. But yes, president Hainer has a point here. Smaller clubs face the plausible scenario of being squeezed out financially, and even withholding the pool of money received from the top four Bundesliga clubs and FIFA, the situation looks dire.
Giving clubs the freedom to choose may be the best way forward. Clubs in urgent need of money may look to investors to get the job done, and strengthen their player and management base, while the clubs relatively better off in Bundesliga will have full discretion in their hands. This may even serve to make the league even more competitive, and help lower BL sides to compete financially with their EPL and La Liga counterparts.
Either way, there’s one thing we all agree on — it is about time Bundesliga action made a return!