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Bayern Munich chief calls for abolition of 50+1 ownership rule

Club ownership rules have been a hot topic in German football of late. Now Germany's biggest club has got involved, with Bayern's chairman arguing that clubs should be free to 'open the door' to new investors.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (pictured, right) has called for an end to Germany's 50+1 rule, which aims to stop a single investor controlling a club.  

"Everyone must decide for himself whether to open the door for new investors. You must leave the decision with the clubs if they want this," he said. "We are the last of the big five leagues in Europe to keep out investors" 

The former Germany international was speaking at a football congress in Frankfurt on Thursday, after a summer transfer window in which the world transfer record has been broken twice - the second time by Ousmane Dembele's move from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona.

Ownership by individuals is commonplace in other major European leagues, particularly the English Premier League where the majority of clubs are owned by individuals or consortia, most of whom are foreign.

Deutschland | Hannover 96 | Protest gegen Präsident Martin Kind | Kind muss weg (imago/O. Ruhnke)

Martin Kind's efforts to take control of Hanover have proved controversial. The banner reads 'Kind Must Go'

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Facing VW cuts, Wolfsburg are a timely reminder of the value of 50+1

The 50+ 1 rule states that no single person or entity may possess more than 49 percent of the voting rights in a German club's professional football division, preventing the sale of a majority stake to outside investors, protecting clubs from irresponsible owners and maintaining the democratic nature of fan-owned German clubs. A quarter of Bundesliga clubs currently don't follow the 50+1 rule to the letter, while some clubs have been granted certain exemptions.

It has proved particularly controversial in German football over the last couple of years, with the ownership model of RB Leipzig and the situation at Hanover - where longterm financial backer Martin Kind appears set to take control of the newly-promoted outfit - leading to strong fan protests. "We should bury 50+1 and develop new regulations," Kind said.

But the intervention of Germany's most powerful club is sure to put the issue back at the top of the agenda for the DFB (German Football Association). The country's governing body is already under fire after Nazi chants and anti-DFB sentiment at Germany's recent World Cup qualifier with the Czech Republic.

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