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Rauball contra Zwanziger and what on Earth is a Kreisliga?

This is not the "Official" Kreisliga Logo.

This is not the "Official" Kreisliga Logo.

Hamburg – League Boss Reinhard Rauball is distancing himself from DFB Boss Theo Zwanziger in the fight on possible monetary compensation for the Amateur Clubs and also criticized the cancellation of the Kreisligaspieltages on 1 March. “I cannot agree with this. I respect the authority of those that have to make this decision, but I personally cannot understand it” Rauball told “kicker” magazine.

Rauball’s criticism is based on the cancellation of the first match day in the Kreisen (Areas) Gelsenkirchen, Unna, Gladbeck und Kirchhellen on 1 March to Protest against the Bundesliga-Sunday afternoon match. He also had some strong words in the direction of Zwanziger, who had recommended monetary compensation for the Amateur teams that are looking at losing revenue and Fans if a Bundesliga game is played at the same time they are scheduled to take the field. In a call between the two sides, Rauball reiterated that the DFL “would not participate in this compensation package”. Rauball also stated that DFB-Generalsekretär (General Secretary) Wolfgang Niersbach had his doubts about being able to make a compensation package work. According to Rauball, Niersbach is said to “have no idea how that is supposed to work”. As long as the Amateur teams do not “strike” Rauball is willing to ask the Bundesliga teams to stage benefit games to help the Kreisliga* teams.

*In case you are wondering where the Kreisliga ranks, it is approximately the 9th or 10th Division (depending on the State) of German Soccer Structure and is comprised of so called Hobby Kicker (working people that are playing the game for fun).

The Teams from the Kreise Gelsenkirchen, Unna, Gladbeck und Kirchhellen in response to the decision by the DFL to have so called “Salami Spieltage” (Match day Games spread out Friday, Saturday and Sunday from next season on) decided to call for a Strike on Sunday, 1 March 2009. DFB Vice President Hermann Korfmacher, Boss of the Fußball und Leichtathletikverbandes Westfalen (Westphalian Soccer, Track & Field Federation) instructed the Chairmen of the Westphalian Kreise to completely cancel and reschedule the first match day of the return legs for this season.

Even Amateur teams from other Regions are now contemplating joining the protests of the clubs from Nordrhein-Westfalen to show their solidarity against the Bundesliga Sunday afternoon game. “This was the last straw for us” said Wiesbadener Kreisfußballwart Dieter Elsenbast in the “Wiesbadener Kurier” explaining his recommendation to the Clubs, to not play on this match day.

“We cannot allow them to just do what they want” said Elsenbast, who also contacted the Hessischen Fußball Verband (Hessian Soccer Federation). If they agree, “we will cancel all games and think about a combined protest”.

The key question is why did Theo Zwanziger come out with a statement promising possible compensation in the first place? Especially when you consider that apparently no one has sorted out the way this is supposed to be handled. Who is going to determine what the financial losses of these teams would be? Is there a formula that allows compensation per Fan lost? Is it a one time payment just for the coming season or will it be recurring as long as the new TV Deal is valid?

There is a meeting scheduled for 25 February between Zwanziger and a delegation from the Amateur teams. Surely it would have been smarter to wait on the outcome of these talks instead of raising hopes for the Amateur Teams that may turn into empty promises and more drama between the Federation and the League?

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