German football has its own way of surviving the recession and parts of their model are truly admirable, but to argue that the Bundesliga blueprint is for all to follow, is an over-simplification. There is little bigger in Britain than the Olympics right now, yet women’s football still cannot catch a break.
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Alemannia spent £50m they didn’t have and then had to be saved with two 45-year loans.
There may be trouble ahead, however, as one of those agreements was only reached on the proviso Alemannia remained a Bundesliga concern.
The German model differs from the Spanish model which differs from the English model, if there is a model at all.
Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, does not believe a single defined structure exists — and looking at the ownership of, say, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, he may be right.
Here is a list of insolvencies or clubs that have been punished for financial irregularities in Germany since 2008, if extended to include competitions comparable to the Football League (Liga 3 and Regionalliga) and Conference (Oberliga plus various regional leagues).2008: SV Darmstadt 98 (former Bundesliga, now Liga 3, insolvency); 1FC Gladbeck (former second division, now regional league, no licence); Sp Vgg Erkenschwick (former Bundesliga, now regional league, insolvency); Yesilyurt Berlin (Oberliga, insolvent, folded); FSV Bayreuth (regional league, insolvency).2009: Sachsen Leipzig (former East German champions, then regional league, insolvency); Altona 93 (Regionalliga Nord, no licence); Kickers Emden (then Liga 3, now regional league, no licence); FSV Oggersheim (Regionalliga West, no licence); Viktoria Aschaffenburg (regional league, no licence); TSV Grossbardorf (Regionalliga Sud, no licence).2010: Tennis Borussia Berlin (former Bundesliga, now regional league, insolvency); Hansa Rostock II (Oberliga, voluntarily relegated); Rot-Weiss Essen (former Bundesliga, former champions, European Cup competitors, now Regionalliga West, no licence); Bonner SC (regional league, insolvency); SV Waldhof Mannheim (former Bundesliga, Regionalliga West, no licence); SSV Reutlingen 05 (former Bundesliga, then Oberliga, insolvency); TSV Eintracht Bamberg (Regionalliga Sud, insolvency, folded); Vf LGermania Leer (regional league, insolvency); Viktoria Aschaffenburg (insolvency); Preussen Hameln (regional league, no licence, club later folded).2011: Tu S Koblenz (former Bundesliga, then Liga 3, no licence); Sachsen Leipzig (insolvency, folded); RW Ahlen (former Bundesliga, then Liga 3, insolvency); SSV Ulm 1846 (former Bundesliga, now regional league, insolvency); Sp Vgg Weiden (Regionalliga Sud, insolvency); Sp Vgg Erkenschwick (no license); 1FC Kleve (Regionalliga West, insolvency).2012: Turkiyemspor Berlin (Oberliga, insolvency); SC Borea Dresden (Oberliga, voluntarily relegated mid-season for financial reasons); Vf L Kirchheim (Oberliga, voluntarily relegated midseason for financial reasons); Eintracht Nordhorn (regional league, insolvency; Kickers Emden (insolvency). For a system that is so perfectly structured that’s quite a catalogue of financial disaster.
And while most of the names will be unfamiliar, the citizens of Bamberg probably haven’t heard of Farsley Celtic or Rotherham United. For while no Bundesliga team have become insolvent, quite a few have had a fair tilt at it, only to be bailed out in a way that English clubs simply are not. Bottom of Bundesliga 2, with debts of £6.81m, they risked being busted down to the amateur ranks until the local council stepped in last week with an aid package, including a partial waiver of tax debt, the purchase of property located in Hansa’s training complex and a significant grant. The state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in which Rostock is situated, is the poorest in Germany and below the European Union average in terms of gross domestic product per capita. Alemannia Aachen, who will be joining them in Liga 3 next season, were also rescued from debt by the city council, having got into trouble upgrading their stadium, under pressure from the Bundesliga’s administrators.
For too long, the extreme elements of boxing have been looked on as part of the show.
Yet when the stage was conceded to thugs in Munich, the BBBC did not have legislation tight enough, or decision-makers sharp enough to stop Warren tying them in knots.
Certainly, in Germany, the state appears to have greater appreciation of football’s worth to the community.
Hertha Berlin did not provide any of the £194.5m required to redevelop the Olympiastadion; 1FC Koln’s stadium reconstruction was financed by the city of Cologne; the city of Frankfurt paid for the £120.5m refit for Eintracht Frankfurt; Stuttgart’s stadium is owned by a council-controlled subsidiary and central government went half in with Lokomotiv Leipzig. The only reason the Olympic Stadium, with its running track and intimidating 60,000 seats to fill, initially found favour was because the alternative was to have Tottenham Hotspur invade east London — and fans knew that would be a commercial disaster for their club.
If we just accepted that sport can only be professional and mainstream if large numbers want to watch it, then women could just go out, play football for the thrill of competition and the rest wouldn’t matter.