Professional football has existed in England since 1885. The first professional championship on mainland Europe was held in Austria in the 1924/25 season with two divisions. The first master in professional football outside Great Britain was the Hakoah from Vienna . The professional championship was abolished in Austria after the annexation to the German Reich in March 1938. In 1949 professionalism was reintroduced in Austria with the introduction of the state league . In Germany, the amateur ideal was adhered to for a long time and only small allowances were allowed. When in the 1920s the number of spectators rose sharply and the clubs' coffers were full, attempts were made to use illegal "bonuses" to poach players from other clubs or to keep them by paying hidden salaries. This was common practice at the top clubs, but only a few cases were exposed and resulted in bans. There was great excitement in 1930 when FC Schalke 04 payments to numerous players became known and led to life-long bans by the DFB , which were lifted a year later due to public pressure. Since professional football could apparently no longer be prevented, the DFB finally decided at its Bundestag in October 1932 to introduce a professional Reichsliga. The modalities were to be clarified at a special meeting in May 1933. However, this did not happen due to political developments.
1949 the DFB has been under the jurisdiction of contract players introduced in 1963 along with the introduction of the football league of professional players . But most of the players were only so-called semi-professionals, i.e. that is, they continued to work alongside football. The DFB allowed a monthly salary of a maximum of DM 1200, but allowed exceptions (on request) for national players to prevent their departure abroad. In 1972, under pressure from the clubs, the DFB finally released all payments to professional players.
Professional football today
Today there are three professional leagues in Germany. The Bundesliga with 18 places, the 2nd Bundesliga with 18 places and the 3rd league with 20 places. Economically, they are essentially dependent on the income from television, which is graded according to league affiliation . The 3rd division, as it has been common in England since the 1920s, has existed since the 2008/09 season . The salaries of the players in the three professional leagues are sufficient to pursue the sport full-time: in the third division they are between 2,500 and 8,000 euros per month, in the second division between 7,000 and 20,000, in the first division between 30,000 and 100,000 euros, with individual players receiving much higher sums.
Several professionals are also employed in the regional leagues, which have formed the 4th division since 2008. These leagues are therefore referred to as semi-professional leagues.
After a total of six third and regional leagues had left at the end of the 2008/09 season due to the refusal or voluntary return of their license, one of them filed for bankruptcy , the question was asked whether the current structures in Germany could cope with four professional leagues. A year later, the same question arose again, when again five regional league clubs lost their license or voluntarily gave it back despite having been able to stay in the league.
Chronological development of professional football
- 1885: England
- 1893: Scotland
- 1924: Austria
- 1925: Czechoslovakia
- 1926: Hungary & Italy
- 1928: Spain
- 1931: Argentina
- 1932: Uruguay & France
- 1934: Brazil
- 1954: Netherlands
- 1972: Germany
- Money in the shoe . In: Der Spiegel . No. 35 , 1963 ( online ).
- Kickers Emden (3rd league), Viktoria Aschaffenburg, FSV Oggersheim and Saxony Leipzig (bankruptcy announced), Altona 93 and TSV Großbardorf; the last three clubs were also relegated
- RW Essen, Bonner SC, SV Waldhof, SSV Reutlingen and Hansa Rostock (withdrew the reserve team); Tennis Borussia, initially relegated to the sport, could not move up due to bankruptcy.
- Gerhard Urbanek: Austria's Germany Complex: Paradoxes in the Austro-German Football Mythology Volume 14 of Publications on Austrian Cultural Research Volume 14 of Austrian Cultural Research. LIT Verlag Münster, 2012, ISBN 3-643-50351-2 , pp. 60-61