14 December 2021 – From the coming 2022-23 season, the DFL Licensing Regulations will for the first time include binding requirements for dialogue between clubs and fans. The clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 approved a resolution to this effect at the DFL Members Assembly on Tuesday.
Dialogue between clubs and fans is the term for structured dialogue formats, in which the clubs communicate with fans and listen to their opinions on a variety of topics. In the future, the Licensing Regulations relating to such formats will include mandatory basic requirements as well as quality requirements as recommendations, which will preserve the often high standard of local dialogue between clubs and fans and provide incentives for improvement.
To this end, the clubs have adopted a new Appendix to the Licensing Regulations. This includes the obligation for all topics that directly or indirectly concern fan groups to be considered and for the people represented in dialogue between clubs and fans to reflect the diversity of fans in the stadium. Organisational aspects are also defined, such as processes and documentation as well as the regular participation of the clubs’ managements.
The Licensing Regulations have included the general requirement for clubs to conduct structured dialogue with their fans since the 2013-14 season. Since then, the DFL Fan Affairs department together with the working group “Dialogue between clubs and fans” has dealt continuously with implementation in the clubs. The insights acquired have been included in the new guidelines as well as the summary report of the task force “Future of Professional Football”, in which 37 experts from the fields of sport, society, science, politics and business called for “the existing club-fan dialogues to be further developed and standardised (…) by devising quality criteria” and for these criteria to be enshrined in the statutes.
The new guidelines also incorporate recommendations and feedback from fans, fan representatives, socio-educational fan projects, fan initiatives and the Fan Culture Working Group, which were obtained in an extensive consultation process. This process has been coordinated jointly by the DFL and the expert group fan cultures & sport-related social work (KoFaS) which has been closely monitoring dialogue between clubs and fans since 2015.
In the coming months, the DFL Fan Affairs department will produce a handbook to explain and specify the contents of the guidelines for the design and execution of dialogue between clubs and fans.