Hannover 96: German Football League to reject Martin Kind′s takeover bid | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.02.2018
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Hannover 96: German Football League to reject Martin Kind's takeover bid

The DFL is set to reject Martin Kind's application for an exemption from German football's 50+1 ownership law at Hannover 96. An official decision isn't expected until Monday.

The German Football League (DFL) is expected to reject an application from Hannover 96 president Martin Kind for an exemption from German football's 50+1 ownership law, according to reports in Germany.

The law, which stipulates that a football club's membership must retain 50 per cent of the shares in the professional football team, plus one share, ensures that no external person or entity can take majority control of a club.

Exceptions are made for outside investors who can prove that they have "substantially funded a club for a continuous period of 20 years." Having been club president since 1997, Kind applied for such an exemption in September 2017.

An official decision is expected on Monday but, according to Berlin-based newspaper Tagesspiegel and national tabloid BILD, the DFL are set to reject Kind's application on the grounds that his financial support has not been substantial enough over the last two decades.

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

"Kind must go!" Many Hannover supporters are against a takeover

BILD also claim that the DFL will use Monday's announcement to suggest alterations to the 50+1 rule, softening its specifications in favor of investors such as Kind. 

Hannover 96 released a short statement saying: "To the best of our knowledge, a decision will only be reached next week. We won't comment on speculation."

Opposition

Since submitting his application for an exemption from 50+1, arguing that majority control is necessary to attract further investment and increase Hannover's ability to compete on the pitch, Kind has faced growing opposition from supporter groups opposed to a takeover.

In January 2018, leading campaign group ProVerein1896 submitted a 50-page document to the DFL arguing that Kind's financial support has been neither substantial enough nor continuous – given that he temporarily stepped down from the presidency in the 2005-06 season.

Despite being promoted back to the Bundesliga, Hannover's ultra groups have been refusing to provide vocal support for the team at matches this season. 

Pressekonferenz zur Vorstellung von Andreas Rettig (picture-alliance/dpa/Revierfoto)

St Pauli CEO Andreas Rettig is an advocate of 50+1

For and against 50+1

Speaking at sports business festival SpoBis in Düsseldorf earlier this week, Kind said he "expected his application to be successful" and repeated his threat of legal action should it be rejected.

Also speaking at SpoBis, Hamburger SV financial director Frank Wettstein also spoke out against the 50+1 rule. "I propose that each club be able to decide for themselves whether they welcome investors on board or not," he said. "We already have too many exceptions to the 50+1 rule. RB Leipzig have already circumvented it and the established clubs are hindered by it."

Andreas Rettig, CEO of Hamburg's local rivals FC St Pauli and a supporter of 50+1, responded: "The 50+1 rule protects the socio-political value of football. We're talking about the people's game as a cultural asset. We need to stop glorifying the idea of money from investors."

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