DFL president calls for Bundesliga reform ahead of 2019 departure
Reinhard Rauball will not stand for another term as the president of the German football league (DFL) and will leave his post in 2019, hoping that his departure paves the way for reform.
Rauball, who also is the president of Borussia Dortmund, took office in 2007. Alongside CEO Christian Seifert, Rauball has been the face of the DFL in recent years, but the organisation, which represents the 36 clubs in Germany's top two tiers, is facing several challenges.
"After careful consideration, I have decided that I will no longer be available for a DFL post from next summer on," Rauball said in a statement on Monday, adding that the DFL needed "a new and modern form of organisation."
"It's only consistent that younger persons take on leadership and responsibility in a new DFL structure once the path into the future is paved."
Founded in late 2000, the DFL is responsible for the areas of match operation, licensing, and marketing.
The future of the 50+1 rule, which stipulates that more than 50 percent of a club must be owned by its members, is in doubt, with several clubs calling for its adjustment in the wake of the Bundesliga's decline in European competitions since the all-German Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in 2013.
The league must also moderate the growing financial gaps between the big clubs playing in Europe, those fighting for relegation from the Bundesliga and those arriving in the second tier from outside the system.
With Bayern taking the last six Bundesliga titles, the lack of competition has become a concern, especially when competing with other top European leagues in the growing markets of the United States and Asia.
Fans, meanwhile, fear the over-commercialisation of German football. They will continue to pressure the league, and only last month ended a dialogue with the DFL and the German FA (DFB).
"We are all indebted to him," Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Funke Media. "He made an outstanding contribution towards the balancing of interests between the strong and not so strong clubs in Bundesliga."
Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told reporters that Rauball had to "find solutions with a lot of diplomatic skills despite clashing interests of the parties from Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga."