Former Bundesliga club 1860 Munich are set to return to the amateur ranks after their main investor refused to hand over any more funds. The club needed money to pay the licensing fee for the third division.
TSV 1860 Munich's fate was sealed when the club's Jordanian investor Hasan Ismaik failed to meet the Friday deadline set out by the German Football League (DFL) to pay the estimated five to 10 million euros ($5.6-11.2 million) required to play in the third division, the country's lowest professional tier.
Ismaik said in a statement issued by his company, HAM International, that it was not possible for him to pay as the club "refuses to make necessary changes to solve the many issues facing the club." Some of the structural changes reported to have been demanded by Ismaik would have put the club in violation of some of the DFL's statutes, meaning that it had little choice but to reject them.
Ismaik had stepped in to save the club in 2011, the last time that it was threatened with bankruptcy, and subsequently spoke of restoring 1860 to their former glory by gaining promotion to the Bundesliga and eventually qualifying for Europe.
The reality turned out to be quite different, with his six-year association ending with 1860 as the third-worst team in the second division, losing a playoff against the third best team from the third division, Jahn Regensburg earlier this week. This saw 1860 relegated to the third division, while Regensburg moved up to the second. However, with Ismaik refusing to pay the licensing fee, the best the club can hope for is the fourth tier and they may fall as far as the fifth.
Over the past season in particular, 1860 have made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, including a ban on some critical individual journalists from their press conferences.
After 1860 lost the second leg of the playoff on Tuesday, the club's president, Peter Cassalette resigned, while managing director Ian Ayre, the former Liverpool CEO, had resigned earlier - after just a few weeks at the club. Now they will almost certainly be forced to move out of the Allianz Arena, which they share with Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich.
1860 Munich were one of the founding members of the Bundesliga in 1962 and won the league in 1965-66. They also won the German Cup in 1964 and made it to the final of the 1964-65 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.