Disgruntled football fans protest price hikes

Disgruntled football fans protest price hikes
Photo: DPA
Around 4,000 supporters from football clubs across Germany united on Sunday to demonstrate peacefully against rising ticket prices and the commercialisation of the nation's favourite sport.

The event was attended by supporters’ groups from more than fifty clubs in the first, second and third divisions of Germany’s Bundesliga with a rally held in front of Berlin’s City Hall.

The fans gripes are against rising ticket prices, fan unfriendly kick-off times and heavy-handed action by the police.

“People must understand that this comes back on the fans and it kills the atmosphere in the stadiums,” said spokesman Wilko Zicht.

Speakers denounced the commercialisation policies of both the German Football Federation (DFB) and the German league (DFL). There was a heavy police presence throughout, but the demonstration passed off without incident.

The Bundesliga remains the cheapest major league in Europe: an average price for a ticket last season was €20.79 compared to €43 in England’s Premier League and €40 for a Spanish league match.

The league, however, is booming, turning a profit of around €1.7 billion in 2009 compromising mainly of match-day revenue (€424 million), sponsorship receipts (€573 million) and broadcast income (€594 million).

Fans are concerned ticket prices are slowly creeping up and the introduction of a Saturday evening game for television in the German league – where matches traditionally start at 3:30 pm on a Saturday – have proved unpopular here.

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