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'We hate Mondays!' German league to ditch Monday matches after fan protests

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'We hate Mondays!' German league to ditch Monday matches after fan protests
At a game in Bremen earlier this year, Werder Bremen fans protest against the Monday matches. Photo: DPA
10:40 CET+01:00
The German Football League (DFL) on Wednesday confirmed that Monday night matches will be scrapped in the Bundesliga from the 2021/22 season.

While other European leagues are prolonging their football weekend with televised Monday kick offs, Germany's top flight is bucking the trend, following pressure from fans.

Fans rallied against the five matches held on Monday nights - Montagsspiele - last season, when the initiative was first introduced, either with silent protests at matches or boycotts.

Some supporters also threw tennis balls on the pitches to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. Others held up colourful signs or posters with 'gegen Montagsspiele' (against Monday games) written across them.

The first Monday night kick-off this season is on December 3rd when Nuremberg host Bayer Leverkusen.

Now, in what appears to be a result of the fan protests and complaints by the clubs, when the new TV contract starts with the 2021/22 season, the five TV matches will be switched to Sundays and the Monday games will be scrapped.

The German Football League (DFL) posted a statement bout the decision to stop the Monday Games on Wednesday. The organization said: "The DFL can confirm that a decision was made as early as September to abandon Monday games in the Bundesliga when the next media rights deal is negotiated."

On Tuesday, several fan groups had announced nationwide campaigns and a boycott of some matches.
 
However, all this will still  take place despite the news from DFL, the fan organizations "Unsere Kurve" and "Pro Fans" confirmed.
 
"It's not only about Monday games in the first league, but also in the second and third leagues - and basically about games during the week," explained Jochen Grotepaß, spokesman for "Unsere Kurve".
 
In Leverkusen, supporters had also announced that they would boycott the Nuremberg match completely.
 
Nevertheless, the Bundesliga clubs want to meet their obligations with the Monday games in the current TV contract.
 
Michael Gabriel, head of the Fan Projects Coordination Office (KOS) in Frankfurt/Main, said he saw the abolition of the Monday games as a "signal that football is listening".
 
"I am sure that this will be very, very positively received by the fan scene," he said.

By the end of September, spectators in the first three leagues had expressed their dissatisfaction with what they saw as a growing gap between supporters, clubs and associations, as well as the increasing commercialization of football. 'We're taking our game back!' - is the fans' motto.

In view of the often fierce fan protests, some club managers had backed them - which Borussia Mönchengladbach's manager Max Eberl criticized in 'Sport Bild' in September.
 
He said: "We clubs voted unanimously for these games because we think it is right from a sporting point of view," adding that it makes it possible "to relieve some of the pressure on teams that play internationally". 
 
 
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