Hans-Joachim Watzke’s six-point plan to ‘save football’

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has revealed a six-point plan to ‘save football’ after becoming concerned about German football and its ability to remain attractive and internationally competitive in the future

In his new book “ECHTE LIEBE – Ein Leben mit dem BVB” (REAL LOVE – A Life with BVB) he has revealed how he believes Germany’s favourite sport needs to be protected.

According to Watzke’s thesis, “If we decouple ourselves from our fan base in Germany – from our fans who have always carried our football – we will lose out in the long run.

“As a stock market listed club, it can also be stated quite soberly: If we distance ourselves from the fans because we believe that we can make money quickly, in the end we will only hurt ourselves financially.”

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The most important task of the BVB boss he believes is to remain as a functionary, to protect football for the fans. This he says can be achieved through taking the right decisions and having the correct priorities. His conviction is that “football thrives on grassroots support, especially in Germany. We have to fight for that.”

Watzke has stated the following as important cornerstones of his six-point plan:

  • Maintaining the Bundesliga in its current form (“We can never neglect the Bundesliga- never!”)
  • Affordable football for the fans in the stadium (“Football must encompass the whole of society, not just the well-heeled and the better-off.”)
  • Maintaining the current matchday structures (“We have to keep the weekend for the national leagues.”)
  • Preserving the 50 + 1 Rule (“Everywhere, where investors alone make the decisions, in the end, prices go up for the consumer and they rise dramatically.”)

In addition, the fan culture that has grown over the years and lives in every club should be kept. “The fans love their club, no matter who they are playing and that needs to remain that way.”

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The final point of his plan is to steer away from an elite system in European football. “A closed football society at the top of European football goes against our competitive spirit” he added.

The top man at the Signal Iduna Park is also convinced football has a big role to play with regards to social cohesion in today’s society. “We are experiencing increasing individualization, a certain decrease in solidarity, and also a verbal radicalization in our society.

“We are losing the ties of cohesion, churches, political parties and trade unions have lost much of their support.  Football is discussed as much on the street as it is in the offices of the bosses without the social gradients than we see in everyday life.”

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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