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Clubs waiting for fall of 50+1 rule - Hoffenheim executive Peter Gorlich

RB Leipzig players celebrate after scoring a goal against Bayer Leverkusen.
RB Leipzig's success has sparked increasing debate over the future of 50+1.

Hoffenheim executive Peter Gorlich has told ESPN FC he believes several Bundesliga clubs are waiting for the end of the 50+1 rule.

The rule, which stipulates that more than 50 percent of a club must be owned by its members, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months.

Officials from several clubs have already said they feel the fight to keep it is being lost.

Support has declined, with only a handful of clubs, including Borussia Dortmund, offering firm backing. Dortmund said 50+1 "does significantly more good in Germany than harm."

But the rise of RB Leipzig, who found ways of bypassing the rule despite effectively being owned by Austrian energy drink manufacturer Red Bull, has changed the picture.

"I also believe that 50+1 will fall," Gorlich told ESPN FC.

Hoffenheim are one of three sides not falling under the 50+1 rule and are bankrolled by Dietmar Hopp.

Hopp took over the majority shareholding in July 2015, with an exception permit from the German Football League allowing private investors with more than 20 years of uninterrupted and significant financial support for a club to take over.

Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg are also not playing under the 50+1 rule because they are company-owned, while Borussia Dortmund are the only stock-listed Bundesliga club.

"There are certainly clubs who now fight vehemently against it [the fall of 50+1], but would also take the money straight away," Gorlich said.

"Many clubs already have external partners in their shareholder structure, but would rather keep it a secret. There are strategic investment in clubs, and it will only increase."

Bundesliga side Hamburg have been bankrolled by local businessman Klaus-Michael Kuhne, while Hertha Berlin went down the investment route when American private equity firm KKR injected €60 million.

"Should it [the 50+1 rule] fall I can't say right now what it would exactly mean for Hertha, but my prediction would be that there are many who'd not be against the location of Berlin," Hertha executive Paul Keuter told ESPN FC last year.

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

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