FRANKFURT: Clubs in the top two professional leagues in Germany have voted at a general meeting to keep the increasingly-discussed 50+1 rule writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Andreas Rettig, ceo of second division FC St Pauli who proposed maintaining the status quo, said: “All those who love football will like this decision. There was some controversial discussion but we found a good compromise, the signal is important.”

However, also at St Pauli’s proposal, the clubs approved further investigation into the ramifications of the ownership-control rule going forward, in particular its legal status.

The 50+1 rule has never been formally challenged in the courts but many observers believe it could not withstand legal scrutiny.

Bayern Munich ceo Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hannover president Martin Kind have spoken out in favour of abolition to permit more varied investment but Borussia Dortmund ceo Hans-Joachim Watzke was on the other side.

A DFL statement said:

“A majority of the members of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga e.V. voted in favour of a fundamental debate accompanied by the retention of the 50+1 rule. In establishing the prevailing opinion, 18 of the 34 clubs with voting rights approved a proposal by FC St. Pauli on a “process for improving legal certainty and further considerations concerning changes in conditions while retaining the 50+1 rule”.

“Four clubs voted against this formulation of the proposal, with nine abstentions. Three voting clubs in attendance refrained from participating in the vote. 

“The DFL Board will consult on the next steps in the agreed process in the near future and will inform the clubs, followed by a public announcement.”

** The Bundesliga clubs voted to approve the use of video assistant referee next season after this term’s test phase.