For many fan scenes, there is no way forward in german professional soccer. Numerous organizations have joined forces to form an alliance called "unser fubball" ("our soccer") and are increasing the pressure on the DFL, the DFB and the clubs in the debate about changing the values of the bundesliga.
"We don’t want to go back to a broken system. We call on clubs and federations to act before the start of the coming season," it says in an appeal published on wednesday.
In the afternoon, the DFL showed itself to be open to the new alliance, but also referred in a statement to the current timetable. "The DFL also thinks it’s necessary to talk about possible changes in german soccer. For this purpose, there will be a task force on the future of professional soccer involving a wide range of stakeholders, including fan representatives, starting in september at the latest," the DFL announced. The fans specifically demand "a credible basic resolution and the introduction of concrete reforms".
The supporters already have a clear idea of the direction in which this could go. "Our fubball is characterized by a more equal distribution of TV money, the introduction of a national financial fair play and the clear limitation of investor influence," the new alliance declares.
Its fubball consistently opposes discrimination and fights corruption seriously. And: "as a social role model, our fubball acts in a socially sustainable manner and lives up to its ecological responsibility. Short-term thinking and poor management must be a thing of the past."Economically sustainable action and the formation of reserves are to be firmly anchored in the licensing procedures. The fans want socially responsible ticket prices, an inclusive stadium and fan-friendly kick-off times.
The first signatories are the major nationwide fan organizations such as "unsere kurve", "profans", "bundnis aktiver fubballfans (BAFF)", "FC playfair!" And "netzwerk frauen im fubball" as well as more than 1000 fan clubs and groups – including numerous ultras. "Unser fubball" is looking for more supporters and wants to hand over the complete list of signatures to the german fubball league (DFL) and the german fubball association (DFB) after the end of the season. By wednesday afternoon, the number of participating groups and fan clubs had already risen from around 1000 to well over 1100, according to the alliance’s website.
"We must see the current crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally reshape fubball. The summer break must become a turning point. Associations and clubs are called upon to act and to reorganize soccer: in a grassroots, sustainable and contemporary way," explains manuel gaber, spokesman for "unser fubball". "Instead of moving further and further away from its base, fans must be recognized as a fundamental part of soccer," the alliance demands.
The DFL, as the umbrella organization of the 36 professional clubs, has not closed its mind to a fundamental debate, but initially put all its concentration on getting the ghost game operation through. CEO christian seifert promises to set up a task force on the future of professional soccer in the fall – but the supporters think it’s too late.
"We don’t want to just somehow get through the crisis and then carry on as before," seifert had promised. "We will certainly take something from this situation and think about how the economic and perhaps also the value foundation of the bundesliga can look in the future."
There was initially fierce resistance to games without spectators from the fan scenes, but in view of the clubs’ economic problems, many supporters grudgingly accepted the ghost games. "Professional soccer has been sick enough for a long time and still belongs in quarantine," it said in a statement distributed through the clubs’ ultra groups. Many ultras in particular continue to reject ghost games outright. In the new season, fans must also fear that they will initially be excluded from the stadiums.