A fan crisis awaits Bundesliga leaders once full-capacity crowds are allowed back into stadiums

28 June 2020

Photo: PA Images VfB Stuttgart Ultras in the Cannstatter Kurve of the Mercedes Benz Arena with a banner protesting against club owner Dietmar Hopp from Hoffenheim. There were protests like this in stadia all over Germany back in March - but still there is no settlement between fans and authorities.

Bundesliga organisers are locked in a heavy dispute with hardcore German supporters over radical protests against Hoffenheim's ex-president, Dietmar Hopp.

The so-called "50+1" rule, which puts fans in control of clubs and resists foreign investor takeovers, is at the heart of the dispute.

For a long time, and in accordance with the 50+1 rule, the DFL and DFB gave German Ultras carte blanche to stage their radical protests inside stadiums - instead of banning them.

Bundesliga organisers met with fan representatives before the coronavirus crisis but failed to reach a solution.

Svend Bertil Frandsen bertil@offthepitch.com

While most international football has been under lockdown restrictions for an extended period and domestic leagues suspended due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, football leaders within the DFB (German Football Federation) and DFL (German Football League) are facing another huge challenge once the Bundesliga kicks back into action - the prospect of full stadiums in a not-so-distant future will likely bring problems of its own.

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