There is a culture that exists within the Bundesliga that’s unlike any other league in European football. Of course, there are clubs, like RB Leipzig and TSG Hoffenheim that have found different financial routes to circumvent the 50+1 rule, but for the most part, the rule ensures that at least 50% of a club’s shared are owned by club members, which are predominantly comprised of fans. This doesn’t exist to the same extent anywhere else.
Unfortunately, from a financial standpoint, the Bundesliga is losing significant ground in terms of stacking up to the Premier League in England, and even La Liga in Spain along with select clubs from the other two main top flights in Europe (Serie A and Ligue 1). The amount of money funneled into certain clubs from billionaire investors and state sponsors has severely skewed the financial gap between the Bundesliga and it’s foreign competitors, which has not been aided at all by the financial losses faced from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a recent interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper (as transcribed via @iMiaSanMia on Twitter), former Bayern Munich club president explained how he feels the Bundesliga will benefit from abolishing the 50+1 rule. If they don’t, he feels the league as a whole, aside from the top clubs like Bayern, will start to get further and further away from their foreign adversaries in other leagues that are bankrolled by billionaires and/or state sponsors.
“If the Bundesliga — and this does not apply to FC Bayern — does not consider abolishing the 50+1 rule, we will have big problems in being able to compete internationally in the long term,” Hoeness explained. “There’s a discrepancy between German football, French football — with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain — and, to some extent, Italian football compared to countries that mainly have Arab money and billions in American money,” he continued.
It’s especially concerning to have Hoeness raise this alarm, albeit a relatively obvious and inevitable alarm. He was traditionally a driving force in Bayern’s front office in keeping them fiscally responsible and financially conservative bar his own troubles with tax evasion that caused him to serve a prison sentence. He’s long been against spending too much money on any single player, which is an unfortunate byproduct of the world’s wealthiest owners coming in and taking over European top flight clubs. Case in point, if Hoeness is raising this alarm now, you know there’s certainly a call for action for the Bundesliga.