German football league (DFL) advisory board chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Wednesday there would be no changes to the Bundesliga's format "in the near future
Representational pic. Source/AFP
German football league (DFL) advisory board chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Wednesday there would be no changes to the Bundesliga's format "in the near future." Watzke is also chief executive of Borussia Dortmund and has had to watch as Bayern Munich have won the Bundesliga title for 10 seasons in a row. Fans have moaned about a lack of competitiveness and the idea of introducing end-of-season play-offs has been mooted, with even DFL chief executive Donata Hopfen saying it could be considered, reports Xinhua.
But despite the possible benefits to Dortmund, the last side to win the German title other than Bayern, Watzke said play-offs were not on any future agenda following a meeting of the DFL's general assembly on Wednesday. "I don't think there's anything to be said for going overboard," he remarked. "There's already a relatively strong case to be made that whoever becomes champion after 34 matchdays deserves it."
Watzke did not want to completely rule out reform "at some point" but said "we cannot expect any changes in the next few years. In the near future, I don't see that happening." Watzke also emphasized the "great unity" of the 36 professional clubs which make up the Bundesliga and second division. "It was very good today," Watzke said in Dortmund's Westfalenhallen of the non-public part of the meeting. He said it had been "very goal-focused about the big challenges that are coming our way.
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"In this respect, it was a very good event." Watzke expressly praised new DFL chief Hopfen, who replaced Christian Seifert at the beginning of the year. Hopfen is proceeding with "a lot of verve, a lot of enthusiasm and a great deal of goal orientation," he said. "We are in the process of drilling through thick boards, and thick boards have the unpleasant characteristic that it takes a little longer, and at some point you see what the result is," said Watzke, who was confirmed in office in the course of the general assembly.
Watzke was the only candidate for his role and was backed by 35 clubs with one abstention. "I will try together with my colleagues to do the best for the league in the next three years," he said. Seifert, the former Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Watzke's predecessor Peter Peters were made honorary members of the DFL after a vote confirmed the recommendation of the organization's board. "The appointment as an honorary member of the DFL fills me with joy and pride, because despite all my international activities I have always been a child of the Bundesliga, whether as a player since 1974 or later as an official at Bayern," said Rummenigge.
The 66-year-old wished the Bundesliga "an exciting and emotional season" and "the greatest possible competitiveness internationally." Only an exclusive circle are honorary members of the league in recognition of their "outstanding services and special achievements for German professional football" - among them Franz Beckenbauer.
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