Interview with Union Berlin: “We are not attracting the whole world, but we try to be a real factor in people’s lives”

29 September 2020

Union Berlin
Photo: PA Images The players of Union Berlin celebrate with the fans after the game against Fortuna Düsseldorf on the 27th of June earlier this year.

Born in former East Germany as a statement against the Stasi regime, the club have formed a strong bond with their fans out of a common ambition to resist mainstream methods.

No entertainment, advertising, music or events are provided during half-time – “It destroys the football experience,” says the Club’s Head of Communication.

The club is a strong supporter of the 50+1 rule, putting the fans in charge of the club and resisting potentially-lucrative takeovers by foreign investors.

“Give the fans space to launch ideas and then make those ideas become a reality. That was the case when we arranged the stadium living room for the summer of 2014 (fans could bring their sofas to the stadium to watch the World Cup).”

Svend Bertil Frandsen bertil@offthepitch.com

Caught in the no man´s land between the idealism and reality of the German Bundesliga outfit, Union Berlin are today faced with the possible risk of sacrificing their identity and giving in to commercialisation in order to succeed in the unavoidably business-driven structures of top-level football.

Based in a city where property and rental prices are currently skyrocketing, Union Berlin have become a symbol of the final beacon of hope, the last frontier in the battle against commercialisation, which threatens to rob Germany´s no. 1 cult club of its morals and standards.

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