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Monday, December 3, 2012
Dortmund chief criticises English football

ESPN staff

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has accused English clubs of treating their fans like "customers" ahead of Manchester City's Champions League trip to Germany on Tuesday.

Watzke believes the Premier League has lost its football culture due to the large number of clubs owned by foreign investors.

City will be vying for a Europa League spot when they travel to Dortmund and Watzke insists they have the opportunity to learn from the success of the Bundesliga.

"I am a little bit romantic, and that is not romantic," Watzke told the Guardian. "In England people seem not to be interested in this - at Liverpool they are fine for the club to belong to an American. But the German is romantic: when there is a club, he wants to have the feeling it is my club, not the club of Qatar or Abu Dhabi.

"Germans want to have that sense of belonging. When you give [the supporters] the feeling that they are your customers, you have lost. In Germany, we want everybody to feel it is their club, and that is really important.

"In former times in England I think the relationship between the club and supporters was very strong. Our people come to the stadium like they are going to their family. Here, the supporters say: it's ours, it's my club."

Dortmund's Signal-Iduna-Park has regularly hosted more than 80,000 fans this season and Watzke has put the German champions' growth down to a respect for supporters and cheap ticket prices.

"Here, it is our way to have cheap tickets, so young people can come," he said. "We would make 5 million euros more a season if we had seats, but there was no question to do it, because it is our culture. In England it is a lot more expensive. Football is more than a business."




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