The German Football League (DFL) is aiming to net up to a billion euros by selling a stake in media rights next year, but it received an unwanted windfall on Friday when disgruntled fans threw chocolate coins to force a stoppage in a Bundesliga match.
Germany’s first and second league soccer clubs voted this week to allow an investor to take a stake in the media rights firm, as leagues in Europe increasingly consider broadcasting arrangements as a way to boost revenue and increase their global reach.
The DFL has said it aims to conclude an agreement worth between 900 million and 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) by the end of March, before it awards media rights for the German market for 2025-2029.
Supporters’ groups across Germany have announced plans to protest the DFL’s move to sell to outside investors, including a 12-minute silent protest after kick-off during this weekend’s matches.
Fans held up banners at Friday’s 2-2 Bundesliga draw between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Werder Bremen, voicing their disapproval. Gladbach’s fans also threw chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil onto the field after the end of the silent protest.
With Werder leading 1-0, the match was stopped for five minutes in the first half as stadium staff, aided by the officials, cleared the pitch.
After Friday’s match was restarted, Rocco Reitz scored twice to give hosts Gladbach the lead, before Marvin Ducksch earned Werder a share of the spoils with his 76th-minute equaliser.
Gladbach are ninth in the standings on 17 points from 15 games, two points ahead of 12th-placed Werder.