German Club Fortuna Duesseldorf Plans Free Entry For Fans

German football club Fortuna Duesseldorf is planning to let fans attend games for free.

Duesseldorf, which currently plays in the second division, announced plans Wednesday for its “Fortuna for all” scheme that will grant free entry to league games starting on a test basis for at least three as-yet undetermined matches next season.

“We’re opening football for everyone. We’re going a whole new way,” Duesseldorf chief executive Alexander Jobst said. “Free entry means it applies to organized fan support. It applies to season ticket holders. It applies to regular or occasional visitors to the stadium. And it goes for away fans, too.”

Jobst said fans who wish to attend games will be able to register their interest through a digital platform. He also said the club will distribute income differently and “more transparently.”

“In addition to investing in professional football, in the future, we will use and promote 20% of the money for youngsters, girls’ and women’s football,” Jobst said. “We’ll be able to use 20% for digital infrastructure and infrastructure with possibilities for the stadium as well. And we will use 10% accordingly for social and sustainable projects as well as sport in our city.”

Duesseldorf chief financial officer Arnd Hovemann said the club has considered all the risks of the five-year project and that it has been financed already.

The club has discussed the scheme with sponsors and partners, and it is hoping more will see the benefits of increased access to fans. Fans are the priority for the club.

“Fortuna Duesseldorf is and will remain an association. This is non-negotiable for us. We are a traditional club, and this club belongs to its fans and its members,” Jobst said. “That’s what we’ve oriented ourselves toward and a long-term concept for everyone to shape it accordingly for the fans.”

Jobst said the club wants to play regularly in the Bundesliga. The team coached by Daniel Thioune is currently sixth in the second division with a slim chance of clinching promotion this season.

Duesseldorf was relegated from the Bundesliga in 2020, two years after gaining promotion as second-division champion. The club was German champion in 1933, twice second-division champion (1989, 2018) and won the German Cup in 1979 and 1980.

Jobst hopes that eventually, all home games will be free for fans, though the time frame depends on other income sources.

“As we gain more partners, we’ll have the opportunity to gradually replace ticketing,” Jobst said. “I can’t predict 100% how long it will take us.”

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