“No one wants to destroy the fan culture”

On matchday 17, there were new protests from some groups of fans against the security document outlined by the German Football League (DFL) – some of which took place in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. The match ended with a 3-1 win for defending champions Borussia Dortmund, despite spells of even play, but the Dortmund fans and many sections of the home crowd remained silent for the entire 90 minutes.

The reason for the protests was once again the proposed “safe stadium experience” concept which was agreed by the majority of the league association members on December 12th. By introducing these new measures, the DFL are responding to political and social pressure.

TSG, who, thanks to the peaceful fan structure in Kraichgau, are mostly free from the concerns that other clubs have, also agreed to all aspects of the document. Chief executives Alexander Waldi and Frank Briel were present for the vote. “The topic of stadium safety is something that we've all been made more aware of and has been given greater importance. On top of that, a lot of the aspects of stadium safety have been made concrete and standardised across the whole league”, summed up Waldi, who is responsible for fans and club members at TSG among other things. These concrete measures include improved relationships with fan representatives, security force training and a more intensive collaboration between event organisers (home teams), fans, security forces and the police.

More money to focus on fan relationships and communication

Alongside the security measures, the newly concluded deals are set to include better communication between the fans and the clubs and a development of fan-club relationships. Furthermore, preventative measures against hooligans are set to be improved. Accompanying these measures, more expenses for the association and the clubs will be put towards building fan relationships. The clubs already spend almost €9m on this. That amount is due to be increased by €7m, DFL president Reinhard Raubull announced. It's not only because of the higher investments for fan relationships that Alexander Waldi feels there is no attack on fan culture. “No one wants to destroy the fan culture. The majority of fans have no problem with the newly agreed measures. We're taking about a small percentage, and for them it's not just about supporting your team”, said the TSG chief executive.

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