8 key questions answered about if German fan ownership could work in England


As the fallout from the immediate collapse of the European Super League project continues, MPs have suggested the English game follow the example of Germany.

In the Bundesliga nation, rules in place block commercial investors from taking any more than than a 49 per cent stake in a club.

This prevents billionaire owners, like the Glazer brothers at Manchester United, from taking complete control of a club and champions of the rule say it allows fans to have more influence.

German giant Bayern Munich refused to join its fellow European power clubs in joining the Super League project.

But how exactly does the German role work, how could we make it work here and what would be its benefits?

Here are the key questions answered.



Supporters celebrate their team with a mock-up of the German Championship trophy before the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v SC Freiburg in Dortmund, western Germany, on October 3, 2020.
Germany has a great fan culture

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How does the German model work?

Their ’50+1 rule’ guards against any owners completely taking over clubs.

What does it mean?

In short, it means that clubs – and, by extension, the fans – hold a majority of their own voting rights.



Dortmund's fans applaud during the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Moenchengladbach in Dortmund, western Germany on September 19, 2020
Fans have voting rights

What would be required here?

Under Bundesliga rules, football clubs are not allowed to play if commercial investors have more than a 49 percent stake.

So it would mean a major overhaul of the British game, and fundamental change in the boardrooms of our top clubs.

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What are the advantages?

Football in Germany is popular because it means cheaper tickets.

They have had the highest average attendances in world football, and a great fan culture.

What does ‘fan culture’ mean?

A better match day experience. Away fans guaranteed some of the cheapest seats. Competitively price food and drink. Representation of fans at board level.

‘Membership’ for supporters (around £60-a-year) which gives them a greater say in how the clubs are run.



Dortmund fans wave flags prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between BVB Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur on March 5, 2019 in Dortmund, western Germany.
Supporters have a greater say

How much are tickets?

Season tickets for 2019/20 standing places for SC Paderborn and Borussia Dortmund were the most expensive at 225 and 219 Euros respectively (£194 and £189).

West Ham United sold the least Premier League expensive season ticket at £320, followed by Man City at £325.

Tickets for individual matches are often available for advanced purchase in Germany, at around £15 in many stadiums, though demand is high.



Chelsea fans stage a demonstration outside Stamford Bridge at the proposed formation of a European Super League. Chelsea are one of six English clubs who are meant to be joining the Super league. The fans see it as pure Greed by the owners. Chelsea FC announced this evening that they have withdrawn from the Super League.
English fans feared they were being dismissed by greedy billionaires

How can they stay so cheap?

The ownership rules mean that private investors cannot take over clubs and put profit over the wishes of supporters.

The ruling simultaneously protects against reckless owners and safeguards the ‘democratic customs’ of German clubs.

Is this likely to change?

Some German clubs are worried they cannot remain competitive at a global level. In 2017, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said it should be left to each club to decide if they open the door to outside investment.

German ticket prices

Season tickets for 2019/20 standing places for SC Paderborn and Borussia Dortmund were the most expensive at 225 and 219 Euros respectively (£194 and £189).

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The cheapest can be found at champions Bayern and Wolfsburg, starting at just €145 (£130).

West Ham United sold the least Premier League expensive season ticket at £320, followed by Man City at £325.

The most expensive season ticket last year was at Arsenal (£2013) followed by Spurs (£1895), according to the Statista website.





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