Lawyer Wieschemann was questioned from the TIME of the licensing procedure of the DFL. By May 12, 2010:

The licensing procedure of the German Football League is highly praised. But whether football clubs are bankrupt or not, is difficult to see from the documents. A few weeks ago, all have waited again for a fax. In Munich and Bremen, in Aachen or Bielefeld. In their offices, the Bundesliga CEO longed for the most important news of the year. Some feared, some have to meet requirements, at the end they survived but the licensing procedure of the German Football League (DFL) all.

Therefore, the DFL praised the clubs. “The situation is much more difficult than in the past in the face of the global economic crisis, but the clubs prepare themselves to”, says Werner, DFL Director licensing. That all 36 clubs in the first and second divisions have received their license, could be also due to that the Europe-wide acclaimed German licensing procedure for the paper tiger has degenerated. Many important numbers do not appear in the documents, which wants to see the DFL.

“The licensing procedure is made I believe on the basis of no longer current and contemporary computing engines,” says the balance of law professor Karlheinz Küting. “The procedure reflects not reality and gives no insight as to the decisions allows.”

It is the task of the DFL, the game operation for the current season, but also in the longer term to “secure”, it says so in its licensing procedure. At the same time, it concerns competition integrity, reliability and credibility. Almost everything is regulated. Minimum illuminance of the floodlights over the number of to be held ready showguide up to the seats, which must have a backrest of at least 30 centimetres high and anatomically shaped and firmly attached.

There was however no Club who had to fear because of a weakening floodlights to its license – actually it was always about the financial. But it seems not quite so clear to take the DFL calculated on this field.

You considered mainly the liquidity of the clubs in its assessment, whether is still enough money in the Treasury to pay the players or the bus driver until the end of the season. If the clubs are really bankrupt or not, is hard to see from the documents which must be submitted so far.

The Club structures are becoming more complicated. “The most Bundesliga clubs are flawless corporations,” says Karlheinz Küting. The FC is Schalke 04, for example, in a confused group network with a two-digit number of companies. The Club can back so any debts between the individual companies and pushing – such as the Schalke players the ball in the midfield.

The liabilities in the financial statements of the Association will be scrutinized by the DFL, but on the balance sheets of subsidiaries for which the DFL feels not responsible may emerge at the end of the games. The financial statements show so often just a fraction of the actual economic situation of the clubs. “An insight into the real situation of the company would be possible only if a consolidated financial statements would be created”, Kala says.

Because most of the clubs have however no interest. And there is also no law that forces them to a more transparent accounting. “Bundesliga clubs present annual accounts such as bowling clubs”, says Kala. “The conditions are wrong and here the legislator and the DFL are called upon to make more modern and more adequate approaches.”

Long ago, the Bundesliga clubs are commercial enterprises

Finally it comes not only to whether a team now stands over a season or not. Long ago, the Bundesliga clubs are business enterprises, whose Aktionen have far-reaching consequences. They were lenders, employees, fans, or the General football public – they all have a right to know how it goes the football clubs not only sports, but also economically. But they conceal their assets. They cheat because they may be. Clubs that assume high financial risks in the hope of short-term success and hide any debt through complicated corporate structures, could be a threat to the game operation and disadvantage solid small clubs.

The DFL is referring to a court ruling from the 1980s, that the League Association prohibit an accurate insight into the financial situation of clubs to. A legal opinion that is quite debatable.

“The judgment would have no stock today,” says Bochum lawyer Christof Wieschemann, which deals with licensing procedures in Germany and elsewhere. “Today you think about this issue very differently.” Wieschemann had criticized violent five years ago.

There was excitement at Borussia Dortmund. The Club would be for the 2004/2005 season nearly the license were withdrawn. Even within the DFL should discrepancies have existed, whether the heavily indebted club forced to relegation.

“As a result of this history, the method of the DFL has improved, in particular through the introduction of the subsequent licensing process”, says Wieschemann. The DFL it routinely checks whether the clubs after licensing financial framework conditions have changed. As Schalke 04 had to confront this season the subsequent licensing process. First, the sale of stadium shares to Stadtwerke Gelsenkirchen for over 20 million euro eased Schalke financial problems.

Despite the subsequent licensing procedure, Christof Wieschemann keeps the current system not adequate. “I think at least the template of a group plan account, so a liquidity planning of the subsidiaries, desirable”, he says.

As the DFL ultimately consists of the sum of the clubs, the clubs themselves should force a change in the licensing procedure. But you seem not to want to. “If such a group plan account on the table would be starting the next season, some clubs would get in trouble”, says Wieschemann.

At European level, the UEFA plans a Pomeranian licensing procedures to prevent future debt excesses as in England or Spain. The Germans should serve as a role model. A dubious undertaking. Wieschemann: “I consider the German procedure for the best in Europe – but this does not mean that we can make it not better.”

Christian Spiller

Leave a Reply