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More sausages, beer at German football

28 January 2004

HAMBURG – Seeking soaring sausage sales, the German Football Federation DFB has formally asked the ruling body FIFA for an extension of the half-time break at Bundesliga matches.

DFB secretary general Horst R. Schmidt confirmed that the DFB had put forward a motion to extend the break by 5 minutes to 20 minutes in order to allow fans more time to consume food and drinks – which would also boost club income.

The issue is to be dealt with the International Football Association Board on February 29 in London. A three-quarter majority is needed in this eight-person body made up of four each from FIFA and the founding bodies of the sport from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

“The initiative comes from within the Bundesliga,” said Schmidt.

The Sport Bild weekly had reported in its latest issue published Wednesday that Manfred Mueller, the marketing chief of Bundesliga leaders Werder Bremen, had started the initiative.

“We must keep the fans in the stadium for a longer period. The catering income for instance can be raised through these extra five minutes,” Mueller was quoted as saying.

The report said that Schalke 04 estimates an extra income of around EUR 300,000 if the longer break becomes reality – cash the clubs will welcome in times of dwindling sponsorship and television revenues.

Club officials questioned on Wednesday mainly spoke out in favour of the idea.

“Fifteen minutes are not always enough to get a sausage and return to the seat,” said Bayer Leverkusen official Wolfgang Holzhaeuser.

1860 Munich boss Karl-Heinz Wildmoser agreed: “Five minutes are no big deal for the players. But its good for the clubs.”

Wolfsburg manager Peter Pander disagreed.

“Football must remain the centre of attention. The 15-minute break is fine,” he said.

This view is also seemingly shared by coaches, who don’t want their players to cool down even more in a longer break.

The IFAB is known to be very traditional when it comes to football rules, but the managing director of the German Football League (DFL), Wilfried Straub, nonetheless believes in success.

“The idea could be successful,” he said.

But not only the clubs and catering companies would profit from the longer breaks. They could have a powerful ally in television, which would have five precious additional minutes for ads.

Subject: German news