Opponents of Bundesliga club Hannover 96's bid to get around the 50+1 rule have been handed a courtroom defeat. Investor Martin Kind is seeking control of the majority of voting rights at the club.
The regional court in Hannover on Tuesday rejected an application submitted by a group of Hannover 96 members for an injunction against the football club's plan to apply to the DFL for an exemption from German football's 50+1 rule.
In a statement posted on Hannover 96's website, the club said the court had confirmed the legality of its plans.
"This is an important ruling by the regional court, which has confirmed the decision-making processes of our boards. We will implement the decisions in the interests of Hannover 96 in a responsible manner," said club President Martin Kind (pictured above).
Last Tuesday, Hannover's supervisory board voted 3-2 in favor of supporting the 73-year-old Kind's bid to gain a majority of the voting shares. To do so, he will have to file an application to the DFL, which operates the Bundesliga, to make Hannover exempt from the 50+1 rule, a status that only Bayern Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim currently have. Kind is expected to submit the application sometime in the next few weeks.
Rule designed to keep clubs in hands of members
The 50+1 rule, which is enshrined in the DFL's regulations, is designed to make it impossible for any outside individual or entity to gain overall control of any given professional football team in Germany. The DFL may grant exceptions to the rule in cases in which an investor has made significant investment in a club for a period of at least 20 years. This is the case with Martin Kind and Hannover.
Although Tuesday's statement did not identify who had filed the injunction, but it appears to have been a fan group that opposes Kind's plan, "Pro Verein 1896." There was no immediate word on whether the group intended to take further legal action.