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Sep 5, 2013

Former stars plan Hamburg revolution

Three former Hamburg stars and a former director are planning a revolution at the struggling Bundesliga club.

Rafael van der Vaart enjoyed his holidays
Hamburg have suffered a series of disappointments in recent years.

Holger Hieronymus, Thomas von Hessen and Ditmar Jakobs -- who all played in the 1983 European Cup success -- have linked up with ex-director of the board Otto Rieckhoff to launch the “HSVplus -- Setting up for Europe” initiative, which has the backing of Germany legend Gunter Netzer.

Hamburg, the only team to have remained in the Bundesliga since its 1963 foundation, last lifted a trophy in 1987, when Germany was still divided by the Berlin Wall. Ever since, the team known as the “Bundesliga Dinosaurs” have had to live off their past glories, despite their ambition.

Among the ideas floated by HSVplus are a reduction in board members from 11 to six and the integration of strategic partners in line with the 50+1 rule, which decrees that Bundesliga clubs must be at least 51% owned by members to avoid sugar-daddy owners.

Netzer, a former sporting director at HSV, told Bild that the idea reminded him “of the FC Bayern concept”, where Audi and Adidas both hold shares in the club.

“It enables investors to access the club,” he said. “That is the only way to create the necessary conditions for future success, but nobody has to worry about investors taking over HSV. The 50+1 rule prohibits it.”

He said the current situation regarding the board was standing in the way of “long overdue decisions”, adding: “The current structures no longer fit into modern football business.”

The current Hamburg chairman, Carl-Edgar Jarchow, was quoted in kicker saying that he took notice of the plans “with interest”. They will be put to vote during the next general meeting in January, with a three-quarter majority needed to start the revolution.

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