Sports lawyer

Whether the 50+1 rule is applied or when it no longer applies: German football clubs are queuing up in the search of strategic partners and companies investing in club management and infrastructure. Regardless of the level of motivation a third party has when seeking involvement, the immediate objective of such partnerships is the improvement of the respective club’s status within the sport by providing financial clout.

The potential partners are normally in agreement as to the sporting success to be achieved in the future. This may be the promotion of the club from the regional leagues to the second division of the German national football league, the consolidation of a team’s position within the second division in the German national football league or another objective of a football club in sporting terms. There is normally agreement too about the time-frame over which said sporting objectives are to be achieved. But what is not clear in such arrangements is how much money will actually be required and how much will need to be invested by the third party in order for the club to have realistic chances of achieving the joint goals.

Often the investment required will be estimated or tied to the "value" of the club. This however, is very difficult to determine as it would be for a "normal business" on the basis of turnover figures or even brand values. This is because the value of a football club increases significantly and often very rapidly indeed in the wake of sporting success and achievement (promotion, winning leagues, cup victories, qualification for tournaments, international transfer of players, etc.) and plummets in the absence of sporting success.

CLUBINVEST®

The CLUBINVEST® analysis and investment tool calculates the amount of financial commitment a German football club requires from a third party for all conceivable investment arrangements. When calculating a sum, the model takes all budgetary items that play a role for a football club into account and is also guided by the expenditure and revenue that is relevant for the licensing system of German football associations. Consequently CLUBINVEST® illustrates the milestones which have to be achieved from the beginning of a commitment, right up until the set sporting objective is achieved. By placing a financial figure on each one of these milestones CLUBINVEST® also assumes a continuous controlling function on the path to achieving the set objective.

Prof. Dr. Buchberger said, "We cannot guarantee sporting success as a result of financial commitment when using CLUBINVEST®. However, the use of CLUBINVEST® does however ensure two things: it prevents a commitment from turning out to be too low for the target financial success, thus making the joint goals an illusory deception. It also precludes clubs from overestimating their financial requirement, thereby frightening off strategic partners unnecessarily or enabling investors to acquire permanent equity in the club too cheaply."