'50+1-rule in German football- A reform proposal based a comparison of the European Big 5 football leagues

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-33
Journal / PublicationSport und Gesellschaft
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


According to European law the '50+1'-rule of the German Football-League gets criticized due to its potential violation of competition regulations, the principles of free movement of capital and freedom of establishment. It is argued that it acts as a deterrent for potential investors. In this study we argue for a comprehensive approach, with due consideration given to economic and social aspects, towards ensuring football's integrity as well as a link between grassroots and elite level football in Europe. Using existing legislation and association guidelines of the European Big 5 leagues as a backdrop, we identify a legal form that complies with the principle of free movement of capital as required by European law. We also discuss a list of corresponding measures that includes a ban on multiownership, decentralized marketing of television rights with a subsequent redistribution, an orientation towards international accounting principles, and the introduction of a salary cap which goes in line with the motives of the '50+1'-rule.

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