The 50+1 rule is a part of what makes the Bundesliga and German football culture something so unique, ensuring that fans, or “club members,” own a majority of the shares of their respective clubs, making fan culture as best as it can be. Of course, there have been clubs that have found ways to circumvent the rules like RB Leipzig and TSG Hoffenheim, using finances from wealthy club members to help bankroll different aspects of the clubs day to day operations, but most notably, transfers.
After all, most German football clubs were started as not-for-profit organizations that were solely run by club members’ associations and the 50+1 rule was introduced in 1998 so that private investors couldn’t come in and take control over any given club.
Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß recently said that he feels the Bundesliga should seriously consider axing the 50+1 rule altogether because of how much of a gap it creates between clubs in other top European leagues, and teams in Geramy. The Bundesliga doesn’t have Emirati princes, oil oligarchs, Qatari billionaire consortiums, American business tycoons or state sponsors owning and running its clubs like other countries, namely in the English Premier League, with Ligue 1’s Paris Saint-Germain being the biggest, non-English outlier there.
Julian Nagelsmann was recently asked about the 50+1 rule that his employer's former president had just recommended getting rid of to decrease the financial gap across the other European League but answered rather diplomatically. “I don’t want to say too much about it. Generally speaking, we have to think about the competitiveness of the Bundesliga in Europe. Money isn’t everything, but it makes the transfer market easier. It’s not my decision to make. I’ll take everything as it comes,” he said when he was asked about the subject (via @iMiaSanMia).
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.
Right now in the Bundesliga, with the title race as close as it is at the top end of the table, it shows the rest of Europe that it can still compete at the highest level and not get labeled a “one horse race” or “farmer’s league.” Not to mention, in addition to Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, and Eintracht Frankfurt are all in the Champions League knockout stages, while Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin can say the same about the Europa League. It goes to show that money isn’t everything when it comes to the competition itself.