VIEW FROM GERMANY: Super League is now just a ‘super embarrassment’ in the eyes of jubilant Germans – and the protests in England proved Bayern and Dortmund were right to say no, and why Bundesliga fan power MUST stay
The European Super League’s dramatic collapse was greeted with jubilation in Germany, with some commentators spying a chance to strengthen fan power and reform European club football for the better.
‘This is a victory for football!’ declared Germany’s most widely-read daily Bild on Wednesday morning. ‘The English clubs’ u-turn means it’s a super embarrassment instead of a Super League,’ chirped the newspaper.
Their broadsheet sister paper Die Welt was more matter of fact: ‘After just 48 hours, the Super League is clinically dead,’ it wrote.
In a country where fans still have a strong influence over the way football is run, the Super League proposals had been widely condemned in recent days.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, notably, refused to accept their invitations to be one of the founding clubs and that decision has proved fruitful as the German heavyweights have watched the mess unfold.
Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic called it ‘the stupidest idea of all’, and praised Bundesliga giants Bayern and Dortmund for refusing to join.
The English clubs withdrew from the European Super League on Tuesday after fan protests
Bayern Munich – who won last season’s Champions League – refused to be a founding club
‘Our members and fans reject a Super League,’ said Bayern president Herbert Hainer on Tuesday, as Bayern released a statement giving ‘a clear no’ to the breakaway.
Despite their financial clout and dominance of the domestic league, Bayern still have to answer to their fans under the 50+1 rule, which guarantees club members majority voting rights regardless of who owns the club.
With a few exceptions, the rule applies to almost all clubs in the Bundesliga, and has been held up as a reason why German clubs could not afford to join the Super League.
On Monday, UK sport and culture secretary Oliver Dowden told parliament that a government review was ‘examining the German model closely’.
Bayern still have to answer to their fans under the 50+1 rule in the German Bundesliga
Picking up on his comments and praising the fan protests outside grounds across the UK, German media speculated that supporter power was now growing in England, too.
‘The fans were up in arms, and their protest worked,’ said broadcaster NTV.
The success of English supporter protests and the Super League’s apparent collapse could even strengthen those who are fighting to keep the 50+1 rule alive in Germany.
Critics of the system have long argued that German football should liberalise its rules in order to remain competitive with the English and Spanish leagues, but a move towards more fan influence in England could see renewed determination to keep fan power.
For 11 Freunde magazine, meanwhile, the Super League’s failure represented ‘a historic chance to properly reform international club football’.
The success of English supporters’ protests could even strengthen those who are fighting to keep the 50+1 rule alive in Germany
‘The super clubs have always threatened to form a Super League. Now they have tried to and have failed spectacularly, leaving them disarmed and less powerful,’ the magazine wrote.
Yet others were less optimistic, pointing out that the drama of the last few days had allowed UEFA to wave through their controversial Champions League reform without criticism.
‘Reforms which had previously been condemned are now being held up as the salvation of football against the spectre of the Super League. Something is not right about that,’ wrote Der Tagesspiegel.