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Pyrotechnics, coins and rioting: protests against DFL

The soccer clubs in the DFL have cleared the way for a strategic partner. Many fans do not want to accept this. The matches in Paderborn and Gladbach are interrupted.

Fans of Hansa Rostock show their displeasure against the DFL.
Fans of Hansa Rostock show their displeasure against the DFL.

1st and 2nd Bundesliga - Pyrotechnics, coins and rioting: protests against DFL

Rioting in Paderborn, imitation coins in Mönchengladbach, banners at Schalke: Friday evening saw the first of the announced fan protests against the German Football League.

After twelve minutes of the Bundesliga match between Borussia Mönchengladbach, the supporters ended their previously demonstrative silence by shouting "Shit DFL" and throwing fake money onto the pitch. The game was interrupted for a few minutes to clear the pitch of the coins. Fans from both camps also expressed their displeasure during the 3:0 (1:0) second division match between SC Paderborn and Hansa Rostock. The Rostock supporters set off pyrotechnics from the 13th minute onwards - the match was interrupted twice in total. There were also serious fan riots. An unprecedented number of Hansa supporters and police officers are said to have been injured. A few hours after the match, SC managing director Martin Hornberger estimated the damage caused at around 100,000 euros.

Hansa distances itself

"We distance ourselves completely from the way the protest was brought onto the pitch," commented Hansa sporting director Kristian Walter on Sky after the match. Rostock goalkeeper and captain Markus Kolke, who was sent off with a red card after 63 minutes, was similarly critical: "Rocket fire really doesn't have to be, so much can happen. I'm happy that nobody was hit by it."

At FC Schalke 's match against SpVgg Greuther Fürth, the visiting supporters took part in a boycott - they displayed posters with the slogan "No to investors in the DFL!".

Many soccer fans want to express their displeasure against the DFL decision this weekend with a boycott. "We are not prepared to stand idly by and watch the sell-out of German soccer. In order to make it clear that the much-vaunted 12th man nationwide is not prepared to be part of the negotiating mass of the DFL deal with dubious investors, we will remain silent for twelve minutes," reads a statement published on Friday by several fan groups from Germany's fan scenes.

At the general meeting at the beginning of the week, the German Football League received a mandate from the professional clubs to enter into concrete negotiations with a strategic marketing partner. A financial investor is to pay up to one billion euros for a percentage share of the TV revenues. The contract is to have a maximum term of 20 years.

Twelve minutes of silence

If the stadium remains quiet for twelve minutes, "it will quickly become noticeable and audible for us," said coach Sebastian Hoeneß, who will take VfB Stuttgart to FC Bayern on Sunday. "Both have their justification. The trick is to bring both together," he said. On the one hand, it's about not losing touch with international soccer, but "definitely not losing contact" with the fans, who are "all-important". "It's a fine line." You have to listen very carefully to what the fans' concerns are.

"We respect the tradition historically, but we want to develop German soccer," emphasized colleague Xabi Alonso from league leaders Bayer 04 Leverkusen. "We have fans in Leverkusen, but also in Spain, Argentina and Japan. We have to have a perspective to keep the tradition, but also to develop a vision, because we are fighting in a soccer jungle, with La Liga, Premier League, Liga A and Serie A." The Werkself will host Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

The lively fan culture in Germany is a unique selling point, the fans write. "But that is precisely why our participation in the Bundesliga product is also our greatest weapon! We have our share of the value of professional soccer in our own hands," the statement reads. "We see the entry of investors as a fundamental attack on the grassroots-oriented popular sport of soccer in this country. The officials may be able to sell off media rights, but we can still influence our own stake in the Bundesliga product."

The fan scenes announced: "We will collectively pool our resources in the fight against the greed and arbitrariness of the DFL. The managing directors of the league could still stop this disastrous investment project. We will keep a close eye on this path!"

Statement on the website of Dortmunder Ultras

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