Bundesliga: DFL boss Donata Hopfen resigns from office

league association
DFL boss Donata Hopfen resigns

Donata Hopfen has been at the top of the German soccer league since the beginning of the year

© Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

The end was finally in sight: Donata Hopfen is retiring as head of the German Football League.

Donata Hopfen is resigning from her position as CEO of the German Football League (DFL) at the end of the year. This was announced by the DFL on Wednesday evening. The reason for this is “differing ideas about the further strategic direction of the company,” the statement said. Her contract actually ran until the end of 2024.

The end of hops had become apparent in the past few days. Among other things, she was accused of the sluggish sale of international media rights, and the manager in the league association was also criticized on questions of digitization.

Who will follow Donata Hopfen at the DFL?

It is not yet clear who will follow Donata Hopfen. According to information from the DPA news agency, Axel Hellmann from Eintracht Frankfurt and Oliver Leki from SC Freiburg are to take over the management of the DFL on an interim basis before a regular successor takes over from Hopfen at the start of the new Bundesliga season.

He or she has an important task ahead of them: the Federal Cartel Office is asking the DFL to clarify the exceptions to the 50+1 rule in German professional football. It is intended to ensure that clubs retain their decision-making power over their professional departments even if external investors enter there. Exceptions have so far been made for TSG Hoffenheim, VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Leverkusen, because they have been supported by billionaire Dietmar Hopp, Volkswagen and Bayer for a long time. The Cartel Office does not consider these exceptions to be in line with competition.

DFL supervisory board chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke, whose trust Hopfen had lost according to media reports, thanked her in a statement “for the intensive months in which we worked together very trustingly”.

The 46-year-old former digital consultant only succeeded Christian Seifert at the head of the league association on January 1, 2022.

In 2000, the 36 clubs in the first and second Bundesliga came together to form the DFL. It organizes and markets the two highest German divisions. The interest group is a member of the German Football Association. Fan representatives criticize the DFL’s ongoing commercialization of the sport.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was first published.

Sources: German soccer leagueDPA news agency


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