Andreas Rettig: The governance pioneer in professional football

Andreas Rettig

One could take it easy and label Andreas Rettig as a nostalgic or lobbyist. As lobbyists, because the manager of the second division club FC St. Pauli represents the interests of small clubs. And as a nostalgic man, because as spokesman for the “50+1” advocates he fights for the German football clubs to retain the majority in their professional departments in the future. Many, on the other hand, see the takeover of investors as the ideal way to professionalisation – among them the CEO of FC Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. But beware: the alleged nostalgic Rettig has weighty economic arguments.

Associations as anchor shareholders – as in listed family businesses

In an interview this week, for example, he pointed out that “German clubs are the leaders in advertising revenue in Europe”. This is because sponsors could identify more with them if they were run as a club. Rettig also warned that investors are often driven by short-term interests – and referred to negative examples such as AC Milan. We agree: The takeover by sheikhs, oligarchs or financial investors entails considerable risks. In many cases, clubs in which the association acts as a long-term majority shareholder should be better equipped – provided that the clubs establish professional governance structures and provide for a diverse and qualified supervisory board.