Tennis Borussia Berlin: Former head of the board Jens Redlich loses legal battle

Tennis Borussia Berlin and its fans have been through a lot over the years. The latest chapter of the club’s internal struggles was started when fitness chain owner Jens Redlich started getting involved in the club’s affairs back in 2017.

Redlich has since then actively worked on gaining more and more power at the club with former board members pushed aside. The whole saga culminated during a membership meeting in January 2019. Redlich and his candidates won the elections for seats on TeBe’s board. However, most fans present at the meeting claim that a number of new members had been signed up shortly before the meeting. All of them voted for Redlich and his candidates.

The caravan of love

Out of protest several TeBe fans decided to stay away from their club’s matches. Instead, they formed the caravan of love, travelling all around Germany supporting teams that had values they could agree upon.

The protest stated from the get go that the fans would return to their club, but that they would only do so if Redlich would resign. The fitness chain owner dismissed the protesters as mercenaries, stating that people who loved their club wouldn’t turn their back on the club.

Bombshell ahead of the season

However, at the start of the season there was joyous news for the fans. Jens Redlich had resigned according to the club, allowing the fans to return to their club.

The first home match against former Bundesliga side Tasmania Berlin was a purple love fest that made headlines all around Germany. Tennis Borussia played some marvelous football, and everybody seemed to be happy. After the season opener the club has gone on to win its next three matches, topping the table of the Oberliga NOFV Nord with 12 points after 4 match days.

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Jens Redlich was also spotted at the season opener. After the match the Berlin press featured several headlines, stating that Redlich had declared that an email of his had been taken out of context in order to expel him from his post as CEO.

Legal proceedings

Redlich was quick to announce that he would take the matter to the courts. The matter was litigated in front of a Berlin court on September 11th and the judge’s ruling came in today.

Redlich, as it turned out, had decided to step down back in November 2018. The club decided to accept his resignation after the 2018/19 season had finished. The judge said in her ruling:

“…it is not possible to step down and reverse that decision afterwards. You cannot get away from that crucial point.”

Redlich himself told the press afterwards that he would accept the verdict, adding:

“All that is left to do for me is to wish the new board the best of luck.”

There’s still chaos to clean up

Despite this verdict clearing the way for the new board to work on pressing sporting matters, the chapter of Jens Redlich’s liasion with the club hasn’t come to an end. Redlich’s company is still the main sponsor of the club, but the new board couldn’t find the sponsoring contract in TeBe’s offices.

The police in Berlin are currently investigating the matter. Former head of finances Andreas Voigt is believed to have taken large amounts of documents with him before leaving his offices.

At this point it is also unclear if Redlich has paid the amount he owes the club through his sponsoring deal. The fitness chain owner says he has done so, but as of now the new board still has to get a clearer look of the finances to find out if that is the case.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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