Wolfsburg and Leverkusen lead opposition to St Pauli TV cash plan

St Pauli have proposed that clubs failing to adhere to the Bundesliga's "50+1 rule" should receive a smaller share of TV revenue.

The German FA (DFB) introduced the 50+1 rule in the late 1990s after changing its rules to allow private ownership of its clubs, which had previously been owned exclusively by members' associations.

The rule stipulates that a club must hold a majority of its own voting rights in order to obtain a playing licence from the German Football League (DFL), but exceptions are permitted in cases where investors have provided substantial funding to a club over a period of 20 years.

Bundesliga clubs Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen both 100 percent subsidiaries of car manufacturer Volkswagen and pharmaceuticals giants Bayer respectively, while Dietmar Hopp holds the majority of the voting rights at Hoffenheim, and Hannover president Martin Kind would be eligible to take over his club in 2017.

On Monday, German football magazine kicker reported that second-tier club St Pauli have put forward a motion to be discussed at the next members' meeting in early December that would see those clubs receive a reduced share of the TV cash.

For the 2015-16 season, the DFL is distributing €850 million to its 36 member clubs in Germany's top two divisions. The money is generated through TV marketing as well as through the sponsorship of the match balls, the logo on players' sleeves and a general sponsor.

The cash is distributed to the clubs on the basis of a five-year ranking in which the Bundesliga champions receive 36 points while the club finishing bottom of the second tier receive just one point. The ranking points are then weighted towards the more recent seasons.

St Pauli CEO Andreas Rettig initially requested that those clubs not abiding by the 50+1 rule should "be exempted from the distribution of the marketing income for games."

Rettig, who worked as a DFL executive until earlier this year, has now softened the motion, and proposed that those clubs lose points in the five-year ranking.

The suggestion has prompted a strong response from Wolfsburg, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim and Hannover, with officials responding to St Pauli in a letter addressed to the DFL.

Kicker published excerpts from the letter, which saw the four clubs claim that the motion represented the "cancellation of the union of solidarity of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs," adding that, should it be approved at the members' meeting, it would mean "the natural end" for the league's central marketing agreement.

Speaking to kicker on Monday, Wolfsburg CEO Klaus Allofs said: "For the Bundesliga, this would be a harmful development that would put the core values of German professional football at risk."

Leverkusen sporting executive Rudi Voller hit out at Rettig for softening his demands in order to secure other clubs' backing.

Voller said: "That's typical Rettig. He does what he always does: He acts bit like Practical Pig."

In a light-hearted response on Twitter, St. Pauli published a picture of a cartoon pig -- actually Porky Pig -- which was signed by the club's employees and attached to Rettig's office door.

The tweet read: "Practical Pig, you cool guy!"

The current DFL TV contract ends in June 2017, and the league hopes to sign a new contract by the end of May 2016.