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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Watzke - Prem lacks romance

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has hit out at the number of foreign owners in the Premier League as his side prepare to take on Manchester City.

Last Updated: 02/12/12 at 22:36 Post Comment

Hans-Joachim Watzke: Has taken a shot at City's overseas owners

Hans-Joachim Watzke: Has taken a shot at City's overseas owners

Bundesliga clubs have to adhere to the '50% plus one' rule, which means they are owned by their members, whereas several top-flight English clubs have been bought by individuals, or companies, from overseas.

One prominent example is City, whose takeover by the Abu Dhabi Investment Group funded by Sheikh Mansour led to an enormous investment in the playing staff which culminated in the North-West club winning their first English title in 44 years last season.

German champions Dortmund take on City in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night and Watzke told the Guardian of their opponents: "I am a little bit romantic, and that is not romantic.

"In England people seem not to be interested in this - at Liverpool they are fine for the club to belong to an American. But the German is romantic: when there is a club, he wants to have the feeling it is my club, not the club of Qatar or Abu Dhabi."

He added: "Germans want to have that sense of belonging. When you give [the supporters] the feeling that they are your customers, you have lost. In Germany, we want everybody to feel it is their club, and that is really important.

"In former times in England I think the relationship between the club and supporters was very strong. Our people come to the stadium like they are going to their family. Here, the supporters say: it's ours, it's my club."

Successful

Dortmund have had their financial ups-and-downs, almost going bankrupt in 2005, but now arguably boast one of the most successful models in Europe - producing exciting young players like Mario Gotze and Nuri Sahin and having the opportunity to sell them on for great profit.

Added to cheap ticket prices which produce regular 80,000 crowds at their imposing stadium, they are the envy of many clubs across the continent.

"Here, it is our way to have cheap tickets, so young people can come," said Watzke.

"We would make 5 million euros more a season if we had seats, but there was no question to do it, because it is our culture. In England it is a lot more expensive. Football is more than a business."

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