1860 Munich facing ruin as financial backer makes demands

Hertha Berlin's home field, the Berlin Olympic stadium. (Roberto Pfeil/AP)

MUNICH — Former Bundesliga team 1860 Munich said Thursday its financial backer has made demands that cannot be fulfilled, creating an impasse that threatens the club’s future with a key deadline approaching.

1860, which was relegated from Germany’s second division on Tuesday, faces insolvency and demotion to the fourth or fifth tier unless it can make a payment to the German soccer federation for its third-division license by Friday afternoon.

"Before the relegation playoff games, Hasan Ismaik had already made his financial commitment dependent, irrespective of which division we are in, on a number of demands that the club cannot fulfil for legal and organizational reasons," 1860 vice-presidents Heinz Schmidt and Hans Sitzberger said in a statement addressed to club members. "Corresponding statements from the league association support our assessment."

Schmidt and Sitzberger are the highest remaining officials at 1860 following the resignations of president Peter Cassalette and chief executive Ian Ayre.

"Officials are currently checking all conceivable options in regard to professional football and in close contact with the club’s internal bodies and associations. As soon as we can provide details, we will inform our members directly and first," Schmidt and Sitzberger said.

They said 1860’s youth teams were not affected and that their plans for the coming season were being made "independently of the development in professional football. Thanks to the many loyal members of TSV 1860 Munich and reliable long-term sponsors, the coming year is secured in the up-and-coming generation."

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that Ismaik, a Jordanian billionaire who saved 1860 from insolvency in 2011 when he acquired 60 per cent of the club, made his financial support dependent on conditions that would have given him more power. Ismaik only has 49 per cent voting rights in line with the Bundesliga’s 50-plus-1 regulation, which limits the influence of external backers.

Ismaik, who didn’t attend 1860’s relegation playoff loss to Jahn Regensburg, denied any responsibility for the club’s plight in a Facebook post where he blasted its management.

"This club is currently characterized by unscrupulous power struggles and internal quarrels, which now have to be cut out. Only then does TSV 1860 have a future again," Ismaik said.

1860, which won the Bundesliga in 1966, last played in Germany’s top league in 2004.

"Ismaik is the key person at the moment," said DFB vice-president Rainer Koch, who is also the president of the Bavarian soccer federation. "If the conditions are not met, there’s no license."


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