Klaus Hofmann has expressed grave concerns for the Bundesliga due to the growing influence of new money in English football. The Augsburg president believes Germany's '50 +1' rule will eventually be abolished.
FC Augsburg President Klaus Hofmann has admitted that he is concerned about the future of Germany's current model of club ownership.
The widely-praised 50+1 regulation which guarantees that supporters maintain majority control of their football clubs has been under-threat in recent seasons. Just three Bundesliga clubs are exempt from the rule: Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg. The former and the latter are subsidiaries of Bayer and Volkswagen respectively, the two companies establishing interest in their clubs for more than 25 years.
When asked about the record TV deal about to kick-in for the English Premier League clubs at the Sport Business Conference in Düsseldorf on Monday, Hofmann said that, "we'll get through the next three years. Should it go longer than three, it will have major consequences."
He added: "Certainly the cry for the abolition of 50+1 could get louder because we no longer have any teams that can win anything in Europe other than Bayern and Dortmund. And I fear that step-by-step, we will bid farewell to 50´+1."
Hofmann's words of warning come despite the fact that his club, Augsburg, have made great strides in recent years, gaining promotion to the second division in 2006 and making the step up to the Bundesliga five years later. Now they are in the UEFA Europa League, where later this month they are to face Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in the round of 32.
"By qualifying for the group phases, we've left a footprint in Europe. Not many people had heard of Augsburg a few years ago," Hofmann noted.