The latest batch of revelations from ‘Football Leaks’ published in der Spiegel in Germany have unleashed another coordinated set of fan protests aimed at the DFB and those seen as taking football away from its traditional fan base.
Friday night’s 2. Bundesliga match in Dresden between Dynamo and Sandhausen witnessed a huge choreo from the home fans. A massive banner was unfurled behind the goal deriding those perceived as the enemies of football concerned solely with profit- ‘You buy up the game as you like it’ it read. A large DFB logo with the acronym DFB crossed out was also on display.
Last season saw similar protests against the commercialisation of football and the erosion of traditional ways, and following on from the Spiegel revelations, fan groups across Germany are set to vent their displeasure once more.
There was also a protest at the Mercedes Benz Arena on Friday as VfB Stuttgart hosted Eintracht Frankfurt in matchday 10’s opening fixture with VfB ultras handing out fake bank notes with the faces of DFB President Reinhard Grindel, vice-President Rainer Koch and Franz Beckenbauer on them combined with the slogan ‘Football Mafia DFB’. These notes were also thrown onto the pitch by Borussia Dortmund and Nürnberg fans at the weekend.
Enough is enough!
The latest revelations from the ‘Football Leaks’ group concern corruption at the DFB regarding the winning of the 2006 World Cup rights, as well as the issue of Bayern Munich actively pursuing a move to a European Super League.
In a statement issued by the ‘Fanszene Deutschlands’, the coalition of nationwide fans’ groups explained their protest actions.
“It has been clear, not just since the corruption scandal surrounding the awarding of the 2006 World Cup, that the big wigs at the DFB like to spend the odd penny too many. This arrogance and greed has led to a complete alteration of the game.
“Unfathomable sums are paid to players and agents while the average fan has to dig ever deeper into his pocket for tickets. It’s no longer about football; it’s about the maximisation of profit.
“Financial interests now stand above those of the sport and certainly above those of the fans. A football which sells it soul for a handful of cash is not ours! We want a football which lives and breathes in the stadium, which represents a wider basis and which makes decisions for the good of those who love it.
“Football is an essential part of our society but it is increasingly developing into a play-thing for greedy managers and agents. The people’s game in Germany must not be allowed to become a luxury product which turns its back on its fundamental values.
“We will claim back our game” the statement concluded.
With talks between the DFB and the fans coalition having broken down in the summer and the feeling of alienation and dissatisfaction growing amongst supporter’s groups, the protests look set to continue into the Hinrunde and potentially beyond. The fans have a long list of grievances and it seems impossible right now to see how the DFB are going to be able to reconcile them- especially with more shady shenanigans being revealed by Football Leaks.
In the words of John Steinbeck’s last novel, it’s ‘The Winter of our Discontent’ for German football fans right now and there seems to be no thaw in sight.
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