After the crushing defeat in the vote on a solidarity fund in professional soccer, werder bremen’s management immediately switched to attack mode.
The clear rejection by the first and second division clubs of werder’s proposal, put forward at the members’ meeting of the german soccer league, to share the costs of police operations at high-risk matches among all the clubs’ shoulders only spurred on bremen’s fighting spirit even more.
"In order to represent the interests of werder, we will have no choice but to take legal action. We would have liked to avoid this situation. But we have to do everything we can to minimize the damage that the state of bremen is imposing on us," klaus filbry, werder’s chairman of the board, said in a club statement.
Bayern munchen’s chairman karl-heinz rummenigge criticized the league rival for this plan. "I have no understanding that SV werder bremen now even wants to sue the german fubball league. In the 19-year history of the DFL, since its founding in 2000, this step represents an absolute novelty," said rummenigge in response to a dpa inquiry. "The idea of solidarity has always been a strong one among all members of the DFL, which werder bremen should not question in this matter either."
However, this is precisely the crux of the matter, as the people of bremen feel that they have been left in the lurch by the other associations in the dispute. "We have noticed today that there is no solidarity with werder bremen. Werder is isolated," summed up bremen’s president hubertus hess-grunewald as he left the noble conference hotel outside frankfurt.
Rummenigge had previously justified the rejection of bremen’s application as follows: "we cannot be in solidarity with werder bremen because it would be the completely wrong sign. If we were to set up a fund, it would be an open tur and a must for all countries to ask the bundesliga to pay for it. We can not accept this."
Werder’s supervisory board chairman marco bode replied to the bayern boss via his club’s website: "karl-heinz rummenigge and we obviously have a different understanding of what solidarity means. Furthermore, it is not our idea, but has been established by all courts that werder and the DFL are organizers."From bode’s point of view, it is quite possible that werder got into this situation through no fault of its own.
Rummenigge received support from borussia dortmund’s managing director hans-joachim watzke: "there is no reason for the DFL to subsidize the bremen government’s unilateral action. I am of the opinion that the state of bremen is on the wrong track."
Of the 34 clubs present – only the representatives of the second-division clubs hannover 96 and vfl osnabruck were absent from the two-hour meeting in neu-isenburg – 32 voted against the bremen proposal. RB leipzig abstained. This leaves werder fully liable for the costs of 1.17 million euros invoiced by the state of bremen.
The bills, which were initially paid by the DFL, will now be passed on to werder. However, half of the total amount will be deferred until the final legal clarification has been made. The federal administrative court in leipzig ruled in march that the federal states could in principle charge the DFL for the additional police costs at high-security matches. The DFL intends to take the legal dispute to the federal constitutional court in any case. It remains to be seen when this will happen.
Until that happens, future fee assessments will have to be borne by the association concerned alone. Werder therefore considers not selling tickets to guest fans at high-risk matches in the future. "This is not a threat from us. We were already confronted with this issue by the bremen police in april," said hess-grunewald. If it had come at that time in the semifinal of the DFB cup to the north derby against the hamburger SV, the bremer had not been allowed to sell 1200 guest tickets.
Currently, fee notices are only levied by the bremen senate. In rhineland-palatinate and hamburg, however, there are said to be at least considerations for a similar regulation. "I think if other clubs were also affected, the situation had to be reassessed," said werder president hess-grunewald.
Rummenigge flatly rejects it. "In principle we have no understanding to be involved in the police costs. We all pay an insane amount of taxes. I have in mind the three-digit million sums that bayern munchen will be paying. We agree with the minister of the interior that this will definitely not happen in bavaria."
Hesse also rejects the bremer model. "The state has the sole monopoly on the use of force and must fulfill this task of ensuring security and order at soccer matches as well," affirmed interior minister peter beuth. The DFL decision prevents "even blameless clubs from being held jointly liable for incorrect decisions made by bremen’s politicians".