Official agreement yes, fan acceptance no: Organized fans all over Germany expressed their displeasure against an investor deal with tennis balls, chocolate thalers and large posters.

“We will not be part of your deal – screw the DFL!” was written on banners in the stadiums. Last Monday, the 36 professional clubs gave the German Football League the mandate with the necessary majority to enter into concrete negotiations with a strategic marketing partner. Many supporters made it clear at the weekend that they wanted to continue to defend themselves against it.

Tennis balls in Bochum

In Bochum, VfL’s game against 1. FC Union Berlin had to be interrupted. After twelve minutes, Union fans had thrown tennis balls and – in keeping with the pre-Christmas period – chocolate coins onto the lawn. It wasn’t until the pitch was cleared after around four minutes that things continued. Bochum’s offensive man Takuma Asano had meanwhile pocketed a thaler.

Chocolate thalers also flew onto the pitch during the SV Darmstadt 98 game, but the game against VfL Wolfsburg was interrupted because pyrotechnics were set off in the visitors’ block. As elsewhere, fans didn’t just criticize the DFL. “Our vote should have prevented the DFL investor,” said a poster from the Darmstadt fans. The newcomer had voted for a deal.

Hoffenheim’s managing director Alexander Rosen defended the planned investor entry on Sunday and called for greater acceptance of it among the fans. “Basically, it is the right of the active fan scene to show a counterpart in a very demonstrative way in the stadiums. On the other hand, you have to accept to a certain extent that the league has to develop,” said Rosen on “Bild-TV” . A financial investor should pay up to one billion euros for a percentage share of the TV revenue. The contract should have a maximum term of 20 years.

Other officials also commented on the debate. For them, the topic is communicatively sensitive. On the one hand, they don’t want to mess up with their fans, but on the other hand, many of them see economic benefits from becoming investors. Many statements sound the same.

Fan fears for the future of football

“Both have their place. The art lies in bringing both together,” said VfB Stuttgart coach Sebastian Hoeneß after the organized protest was announced by the “fan scenes in Germany”. On the one hand, it’s about not losing touch with international football, but also not losing contact with the fans, who are “everything crucial.” “It’s a fine line.” You have to listen very carefully to what the fans’ concerns are.

Many supporters are afraid for the future of German football as they like it. They fear the influence of investors and accuse the DFL of greed for profit. “A contract that is concluded over two decades opens a Pandora’s box in the long term, which does not rule out further investor involvement – quite the opposite,” says a statement distributed by numerous ultra scenes.

In keeping with the fans as the “12th man”, it remained quiet in many stadiums in the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga in the first twelve minutes. The fans then drew attention to themselves by chanting insults or throwing objects onto the pitch. The second division game between SC Paderborn and Hansa Rostock even had to be interrupted twice on Friday. There were also momentous fan riots by Rostock fans.