As Bundesliga clubs show support for the “United By Football” campaign, supporter groups have voiced their displeasure at the break down in talks with the DFB by protesting against Germany's Euro 2024 bid.
On matchday four in the Bundesliga, Germany's football association (DFB) promoted their bid to host the 2024 European Championship in Germany. Many of Germany's active supporter groups met the promotion with messages of their own.
Numerous fan groups from Germany's first and second divisions used the DFB's publicity campaign to protest against the stalled talks over fan rights, the commercialization of the game in Germany and other fan-related issues.
"Focus on solving local problems"
In at least seven grounds over the weekend, the original "United By Football: Together in the center of Europe” slogan was replaced with "United by Money: Corrupt in the center of Europe" on various banners.
First to show the banner were Stuttgart ultra group "Commando Cannstatt." Stuttgart's most well-known supporters group revealed the protest banner (see the main photo) as players from both sides stood on the pitche behind the original banenr with the original slogan.
The group took to its website to explain the reasons behind the protest. The perception of fan-unfriendly kick-off times, supporter rights and the game's commercialization are mentioned as some of the issues they feel the DFB should face.
"We'd like to express our concerns," reads the statement. "Above all, the DFB would do well to invest its energy in solving these problems rather than trying to focus on buying the next major football event," the statement continued, hinting at the 2006 World Cup scandal, in which the organizing committee of the tournament was found to have had a secret slush fund.
Similar protests were made by fan groups from Augsburg, Werder Bremen and Leverkusen, as well as second division clubs Arminia Bielefeld, HSV, Union Berlin and Dynamo Dresden.
Low point in relations
This comes as relations between German football's governing body and the country's fan groups are at a low point. Discussions between the DFB and fan group collective Fanszene Deutschlands (The national collation of fan groups) over several fan-related issues have broken down. Even though recent reports suggesting the DFB moved Germany's friendly against Peru from Frankfurt to Hoffenheim's Rhein-Neckar Stadium in Sinsheim due to concerns over potential protests by Eintracht Frankfurt's ultraswere denied, the tension between fans and the association remains high.
The host of Euro 2024 will be announced on September 27, with Germany and Turkey the two candidates.