December 15, 2017

What Went Wrong? The Debacle at 1860 Munich

TSV 1860 Munich have had the kind of week that will go down in history for all the wrong reasons, and the clubs entire future is now in serious doubt. Just days after 1860 were officially relegated from Bundesliga 2 following a 1-3 aggregate loss in the playoff/promotion game against SSV Jahn Regensburg the DFB confirmed in a statement today that the club failed to provide the necessary funds required by Friday’s deadline to pay for a license to play in Bundesliga 3 in the 2017/18 season.

Failure to acquire this license means that the club will have to play at the amateur level in the German footballing pyramid in either the Regionalliga Bayern (4th Tier) or Bayernliga (5th Tier). Die Löwen (The Lions) could now suffer the indignity of possibly playing in the same division as their famous cross city neighbor’s Bayern Munich’s reserve team.

The club which has been on a steady downward decline for almost a decade were rescued from insolvency by Jordanian businessman Hasan Ismaik in June 2011, Ismaik bought a 60 per cent share in the club – an investment of 18m euros was made which in turn gave him 49% voting rights at the club so as not to infringe on the 50+1 rule which limits the influence of external backers for German football clubs.

Over the last week the club has hit rock bottom, even before the club was officially relegated, internal fighting, disagreements over how the club should be run and how the club should go forward, high profile resignations and ultimatums have put the Bavarian club all over the backpage headlines around the world. Ismaik has said that he refuses to pay for the license (believed to be somewhere between 5 – 10 million euro) and in a statement revealed the reason was because “1860 refuses to make the necessary changes to solve the many issues at the club.”

1860 are former champions of Germany winning the league in 1966 however they last appeared at the highest level of German football back in 2004. The Bavarian club can still boast some of the best support in Germany despite playing in Bundesliga 2, they averaged over 25,000 per game this season with over 62,000 fans turning up at the Allianz Arena for the promotion game against Regensburg.

Overview of 1860’s Nightmare Week

Below we take a closer look at events which took place this week which have led to 1860 tinkering on the brink of existence

Friday 26th May – Promotion playoff 1st leg

1860 put in an indifferent display but come away with an important away goal in the 1-1 draw at SSV Jahn Regensburg. A 2nd minute goal from Marc Lais gave Regensburg the early lead, Lais heading home emphatically from an early corner.

The better chances in the game fell to Regensburg however after some good work Romuald Lacazette on the right flank Florian Neuhaus volleyed home to give 1860 a precious away goal.

The drama that would continue both on and off the field for the next week was only just getting started, a 2nd yellow for Marin Pongracic saw him leave the game with 10 minutes still to play and then in the dying minutes what looked to be a well-timed tackle from Abdoulaya Ba was harshly called a foul and a penalty awarded to the Bundesliga 3 side. Up stepped Andreas Geipl to give them the win only for Stefan Ortega to deny him with a fantastic save to his left.

Tuesday morning 30th May

On the morning of the 2nd leg Ian Ayre resigns from his position as Chief Executive after being hired only 8 weeks previously. In an interview with the Liverpool Echo Ayre revealed that he left the club because of off-field issues, citing in-fighting with shareholders as the primary cause.

Ayre, who left his role as Liverpool’s Chief Executive in February of this year, claimed the club could not move forward while the internal strife between shareholders continued.

“Unfortunately, during my short eight week tenure I have found an organisation in which the shareholders are not aligned in a common interest, nor have a shared vision for the future of the club.

“Consequently, although an approved budget for next season was established, there remains significant disagreement between various shareholders, at a crucial time making it impossible for me to continue in the role”.

1860 Vice President Heinz Schmidt has since cleared Ayre of any blame in the catastrophe, saying he worked feverishly until the very end.

Tuesday evening 30th May

In front of 60,000 fans in the Allianz Arena, 1860 needed a win or a 0-0 draw to retain their status as a Bundesliga 2 team, unfortunately at half time they were already 0-2 down after goals from Marc Lais and Kolja Pusch and staring 3rd division football directly in the face. Chaos then ensued as the game was stopped for 15 minutes as angry fans tried to storm the pitch, a massive police presence of about 1000 officers was needed to stop further interruptions however that didn’t stop debris reigning down onto the pitch injuring 10 police officers.

This was the 2nd time in 3 seasons that 1860 featured in the promotion/relegation game but unlike the 2014/15 promotion playoff game where they beat Holstein Kiel 2-1 on aggregate to stay in Bundesliga 2 and despite having the 3rd most expensive squad in the BL2 a 0-2 loss condemns Die Sechzger  to their fate as a 3rd division club.

After the game Peter Cassalette resigns from his position as Club President of TSV 1860 Munich.

Wednesday 31st May

Majority shareholder Hasan Ismaik blasts the club management and denies any blame for the chaos on the field in a statement released on Facebook

“This club is currently characterized by unscrupulous power struggles and internal quarrels, which now have to be cut out. Only then does TSV 1860 have a future again,”

Thursday 1st June

Following the departures of Ayre and Cassalette the two highest remaining officials at 1860, Vice Presidents Heinz Schmidt and Hans Sitzberger release a statement addressed to the club members

“Before the relegation playoff games, Hasan Ismaik had already made his financial commitment dependent, irrespective of which division we are in, on a number of demands that the club cannot fulfill for legal and organizational reasons, corresponding statements from the league association support our assessment.”

“Officials are currently checking all conceivable options in regard to professional football and in close contact with the club’s internal bodies and associations. As soon as we can provide details, we will inform our members directly and first,”

During a press conference yesterday Schmidt gave an insight into what had gone on in the week leading up to the game with Regendsburg “Ismaik issued the club his demands eight days before license fees were due, but these could not be met “partly for reasons of time, partly for legal reasons.”

Ismaik informed the club, however, that his terms were “not the beginning of negotiations,” but rather an ultimatum: “We will move forward once all the points have been fulfilled.”

Friday 2nd June

A DFB release statement confirmed earlier on Friday that München 1860 will not be permitted to play in the 3. Liga after failing to submit payment for their license on time. SC Paderborn will be Promoted instead.

Ismaik releases Facebook statement

Since the confirmation that the club failed to receive a license to play in the Bundesliga 3, Hasan Ismaik releases a statement on his Facebook page addressed to the 1860 fans:

“I am being forced to make such a decision, and I am sad, I have fought to find a solution until the last minute.

“My reasonable demands which were fully in the interests of good corporate governance have fallen on deaf ears. The leaders of the football association have failed to solve the problems.

“The problems that were known. The problems I have long been in the private sector. Problems, for the most part of the responsibility of the association. I think it’s only fair for someone who has invested millions of euros in 1860, invested a solution to require extensive tax matters, because this is a real threat to the entire club.

“People have to wake up to understand the club has to change to survive. I take my responsibility for the club very seriously and I hope that those in charge in the administrative process also do.”

Welcome to Amateur Football

President of the Bavarian Football Association (BFV) Rainer Koch has said in an interview with Kicker, that despite the challenge that integrating 1860 into the Regionalliga will present with respect to scheduling and other logistics, 1860 will be welcomed to the Regionalliga.

Koch has also welcomed Ismaik to future collaborations with the Regionalliga, but has warned that 1860 must observe the 50+1 rule. He said he hoped Ismaik would recall their previous conversation about the 50+1 rule.

What now?

The club has since released a statement after the news broke about Ismaik’s decision not to pay for the license, claiming the directors along with majority shareholder will continue to find solutions to keep the club operational in either the fourth or fifth division.

However, doubts remain if 1860 will even be able to field a team next season, with only 6 first team players currently under contract.

Poor ownership and bad management have pushed the club to the brink of existence, and with no solutions currently in sight, seeing 1860 playing in the amateur leagues sadly seems like the best case scenario right now.

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Part time football writer - From Bray, County Wicklow Ireland You can follow me on twitter - @jay_walker_83

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