Into The New Millennium
Until 2001, the Bundesliga was directly under the control German football's governing body the Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB or German Football Association). This changed with the formation of the Deutsche Fußball-Liga (DFL or German Football League) when the Bundesligen came under the auspices of this new body. The DFL, while remaining subordinate to the DFB, manages Germany's professional leagues and is responsible for the issuing of licences to clubs, general fiscal oversight of the Bundesligen, and marketing rights for the two upper leagues.
Since the launch of the Bundesliga on August 24, 1963 forty-nine clubs have played in the league ranks. To help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the league, two clubs with distinguished Bundesliga histories met in a game on August 24, 2003: Hamburger SV, known as the "dinosaur" for being the only club which has played in every season of the leagues' existence, and Bayern Munich, the most successful side in German football, which had just won their seventeenth Bundesliga title.
In 2005, German football was once again overshadowed by the discovery of a match-fixing scandal involving second division referee Robert Hoyzer, who confessed to fixing and betting on matches in the 2. Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal (DFB or German Cup), and the Regionalliga (III). The games included a DFB Cup first-round match between regional side Paderborn and Bundesliga heavyweights Hamburg on August 21, 2004. Hamburg lost (2:4) through penalties and a red-card charged to the side and was eliminated from the lucrative competition.
Hoyzer was banned for life and received a 29-month prison sentence. He soon implicated other officials, players, and a group of Croatian-based gamblers, leading to an on-going investigation. To this point, at the end of 2005, it appears that the scandal did not directly involve the Bundesliga and was confined to lower divisions:
- referee Dominik Marks was banned for life and received an 18-month sentence for his involvement
- one-time Bundesliga player Jürgen Jansen received a fine and 9-month suspended sentence for accepting bribes to influence games he played in
- three Croatian brothers orchestrating the scheme received varying sentences (35 months to 12 months — suspended)
- referee Torsten Koop received a three-month ban for not promptly reporting an approach from Hoyzer
- Hamburger SV will receive compensation worth a minimum of 2 million Euros for its forced early exit from the DFB Cup, compensation arrangements are planned for certain other teams affected
- after review, replays have been ordered for a number of lower division games, while other results will stand
- a number of changes have been put in place to ensure closer oversight of referees and other game officials
Despite the scandal, the Bundesliga continues to set new attendance records. In the Bundesliga's 43rd season, total attendance was about 12.41 million in 306 games for an average of 40,572 per game, a 6.9% increase over the preceding year, making the 2005–06 season the 5th consecutive record attendance year. After a decrease in 2006–07 and a slight recovery in 2007–08, new records were set in 2008–09, with 12.82 million total attendance and a per-game average of 41,904. The 2008–09 figure makes the Bundesliga the best-attended national football league in the world by per-game attendance. It is also third in per-game attendance among major professional sports leagues in the world, slightly ahead of the Australian Football League (Australian rules) and well behind the second-ranked Indian Premier League (Twenty20 cricket) and top-ranked NFL (American football) in the United States. Top drawing clubs based on average attendance included: Borussia Dortmund 72,850; FC Bayern München 67,214; FC Schalke 04 61,177; and Hamburger SV 53,298. Interest in the league was piqued by the 2006 FIFA World Cup hosted in Germany. An ambitious program of stadium upgrades was undertaken in preparation for the tournament.
The Second Bundesliga saw an enormous increase in popularity in 2006–07, drawing about 4.67 million spectators for an average of 15,253. This not only smashed the league's previous attendance record, but also marked an increase of more than 20% over the 2005–06 season. The league saw another huge increase in popularity in 2007–08, drawing 5.55 million spectators for an average of 18,140, an increase of almost 19% over the previous season, which briefly made the Second Bundesliga the most-attended second-level professional sports league in the world on a per-game basis. However, the league would lose almost all of these gains in 2008–09, with total attendance of 4.76 million and an average of 15,550. Although the Second Bundesliga is now second in attendance to England's Football League Championship among second-level professional sports leagues, it still draws more spectators per game than the top leagues in such established footballing nations as Turkey, Russia, and Portugal.
Starting with the 2008-09 season, a new third-level league, the 3. Liga, was launched, slotting between the 2. Bundesliga and the Regionalliga in the league pyramid. Unlike the Bundesligen, the 3. Liga is operated directly by the DFB. At the same time, the Regionalliga went from two divisions to three.
One of the problems currently facing the league is in the performance and fate of clubs from the former East Germany, which are finding it difficult to compete with the wealthy, established western sides. One-time DDR clubs are unable to attract lucrative sponsorships, cannot afford the salaries needed to hold on to their "homegrown" talent, and find themselves playing in crumbling or primitive stadium facilities. Of the 36 clubs in the top two levels of the league system in the 2011–12 season, five are from the former East Germany, an increase of two from 2010–11. However, as in the previous two seasons, none will be in the First Bundesliga. The five former Eastern clubs in the 2. Bundesliga are Energie Cottbus, who last appeared in the First Bundesliga in 2008–09; Union Berlin, from the former East Berlin, who have been in the 2. Bundesliga since being promoted as champions of the inaugural season of the 3. Liga; Erzgebirge Aue, present since the 2010–11 season; Hansa Rostock, who immediately returned from a one-season stint in the 3. Liga; and Dynamo Dresden, making their first appearance at the second level in five years. Four other eastern clubs are playing in the 2011–12 3. Liga—Carl Zeiss Jena, Chemnitz, Rot-Weiß Erfurt, and the Potsdam club Babelsberg. In preparations for the 2006 World Cup, an attempt to fairly balance the number of venues between the eastern and western halves of the country had to face up to the reality of there not being enough suitable facilities (not limited to stadiums, but including hotels, restaurants and other visitor needs, and transportation infrastructure) in the old DDR, with the result that the east finds itself underrepresented. Only one of the 2006 venues was in the former East Germany (in Leipzig). Similarly, only one of the nine venues for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, also held in Germany, was in the former East Germany (in Dresden). The situation fits into the broader context of the effects of German reunification on East Germany and the resentment that many Ossis feel for their western cousins.
The 2005–2006 season saw FC Bayern München become the first club ever to repeat both as Bundesliga and DFB Pokal champions.
Read more about this topic: History Of German Football
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