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Fact finding meeting with cult German club St Pauli

14th Jun 2021

A NUMBER of Supporters Trust board members met with German second tier club St Pauli to find out more about their members club and the operation of the ‘50+1’ governance model for most in the Bundesliga.

The meeting followed an approach made by the Trust as part of the exploration of community ownership which has been ongoing for a couple of years.

The Trust has pledged to investigate different ownership models to see which may be a good fit should the club again find itself in a crisis situation in the future.

The recent furore over the European Super League, overwhelmingly rejected by a vocal protest from fans of England’s leading clubs, has hastened the Government to introduce a fan-led review into football reform.

It is thought that any reform brought forward is likely to introduce a ‘golden share’ for supporters at clubs playing lower down the pyramid, a version of the German 50+1 model.

St Pauli, which is based in Hamburg and has more than 30,000 members, has a cult following among football fans worldwide.

Kolja Dickmann, the head of the club’s executive board, spent an hour with the Trust talking about the club’s ownership model.

St Pauli are 100 per cent owned by their members – similar to Exeter City in this country – but he also touched upon the 50+1 rule, to which the vast majority of Bundesliga clubs adhere to.

·         St Pauli has 30,000 members who, on average, each pay roughly £100 a year for membership – this brings in £3 million per annum

·         The club turned over £55 million last year in income from merchandising sales, event hire, commercial sales etc

·         The club receives around £10 million each year from television rights

·         St Pauli operates a Sporting Club model so football is not the only sport that falls under its umbrella.

·         The club has a management board and a supervisory board and is guided by high ethical values

·         All German clubs have to meet strict licensing conditions – in terms of governance and finance – to ensure they can take their place in the league the following season

·         St Pauli has a reputation for being a party club with a good atmosphere inside and outside the stadium on matchday with fans entertained by music

Trust chairman Andy Roberts said: “We are grateful to Kolja for taking the time to speak with us. We can learn so much from the way football is governed and administered by different clubs, not only in this country but further afield."

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