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Red Bull executive Oliver Mintzlaff: Bundesliga should scrap 50+1 rule

RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl
RB Leipzig have enjoyed Bunesliga success this season.

The head of global soccer at RB Leipzig owners Red Bull has told Sport Bild he believes Germany's 50+1 ownership rule should be abolished to enable the Bundesliga to remain "competitive."

Oliver Mintzlaff said Germany's top flight risked falling behind if it did not welcome investors.

"The Bundesliga, in the long run, should not close its mind to sustainable investors who are not coming in on a whim," Mintzlaff said.

"If the Bundesliga wants to remain competitive, we can't only bank on the existing sources of income to grow significantly.

"A visit to the stadium has to remain affordable, contrary to what it's like in England."

The 50+1 rule in Germany stipulates that more than 50 percent of a club must be owned by its members.

But there are already exceptions for company-owned clubs, such as Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, while other clubs such as Hamburg and Hoffenheim have been bankrolled by wealthy individuals.

The Bundesliga success of RB Leipzig has sparked debate about the future of German football, with Borussia Dortmund, the only stock-listed Bundesliga club, and other clubs arguing against any change to the 50+1 rule.

Last week, BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said "the 50+1 rule does significantly more good in Germany than harm."

He added: "The German spectator traditionally has close ties with his club. And if he gets the feeling that he's no longer regarded as a fan but instead as a customer, we'll have a problem."

But support for 50+1 has declined and several clubs believe it is no longer a question if but more of when the rule falls.

"We will fight for a long time but 50+1 will fall. There are no two ways about it," Frankfurt sporting executive Fredi Bobic said.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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