Football fans fear rise of Germany’s ‘plastic clubs’

“The peculiarity of the culture of football in Germany is that the clubs were founded as an association, in which the supporters have control of power and decision-making,” Jonas Gabler, an expert on football culture in Germany, told AFP.

“The wishes and interests of the fans are taken very seriously.

“This interaction of fans with their clubs is an essential element of the culture of football.

“Now fans have the impression that this tradition is perverted by clubs who are created by companies.”

Fans of traditional teams criticise so-called plastic clubs for relying on a sponsor, who can withdraw the cash at will, and for taking the place in the top flight of a less wealthy club.

For example, Leipzig beat Nuremberg, who have a strong tradition in Germany’s top flight, to an automatic promotion spot last season.

Reasonable ticket prices are a feature of German club football, but fans fear a deterioration of the mutual respect between clubs and their supporters could lead to a rise in prices.

“Many leaders personally reject this economic model. And many prefer not to oppose the majority of fans on this, so they remain cautious,” observed Gabler. 

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