Professional Soccer Team shuts down after failure to find Investor to save the Team.
ERFURT, GERMANY- “I died twice this week. This is especially hard. We’ll Need everything to cope with this.” These were the comments from Robin Krüger in an interview with the Thüringen Allgemein Newspaper after learning the fate of the traditional soccer team in the capital of Thuringia on Tuesday. After struggling to find an investor to keep the team running, since filing for bankruptcy in 2018, and failing even with the last-minute attempt to find a solution, the profi-soccer team Rot-Weiss-Erfurt is officially no more. The announcement to de-register the team from the Regionalliga Nord was made by the insolvency administer Volker Reinhardt yesterday afternoon at 3:00pm and was made official shortly afterwards. As a consequence, all games played by the team to date have been annulled and Erfurt is the first team to be demoted down to the Oberliga, the fifth league in the German soccer league food chain. That league features mainly teams from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, in comparison to the other league, which features teams from the whole northeastern corner of Germany- which used to be East Germany.
The team’s misfortunes began in March 2018, when the team filed for receivership due to a lack of funding and investors. At that time, Erfurt was in the 3rd National League of the German Football Federation (DFB) and as a consequence, it was relegated to the Regionalliga Nord, effectively ending a 10-year run on the national level. It was hoped that with the new start in the league and with the creation of a limited corporation run by an investor found at that time, the team could return to national prominence. Unfortunately, towards the end of last year, the investor was unable to pay the players and head coach, resulting in them pulling out. Reinhardt attempted to look for help through other investors and even the City of Erfurt, neither of them were successful.
With the folding of the profi-soccer team, the remaining soccer players would have a chance to find another soccer team to play the remaining 2019/20 season. At the same time, the Rot-Weiss Erfurt organization can work on a new concept to eliminate a deficit of over 1 million Euros they are facing at present without being liquidated. The last team that was liquidated was Sachsen Leipzig, which happened in 2012. It also had played in the Regionalliga but never had the taste of national football as Erfurt had, during its 55-year history, which includes two seasons in the second tier of the German soccer league since 1990. Furthermore, Rot-Weiss Erfurt had one stint in the UEFA in 1991. On the state level, it had been on par with FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the Thuringia Cup for over a decade, playing for the cup. Prior to that, it had played in the East German Oberliga, having won two seasonal championships and finishing second in the East German Cup in 1980, losing to its cross-state rival, Carl Zeiss Jena.
The loss of Rot Weiss Erfurt is a bitter one for those who have followed the team through the years and watched the rivalry with Jena, the lone Thuringian team still playing on the national level in the 3rd league as of present. Every Saturday, the city center would be plastered with red and white banners, the main colors of the soccer team, with loyal supporters of the team flocking to Steigerwald Stadium, located on the south end of the city in the Governmental District (Regierungsviertel). This will be missed, along with the games that made the crowd scream and the city heard.
With the folding of the soccer team, there is a glimmer of hope for RWE as it starts at the very bottom. The organization can build a new team to play in the Oberliga come next season, assuming there is enough capital. They can still play in the Steigerwald Stadium, which will be a blessing. The youth club (Nachwuchszentrum) will remain for now, as the youth can learn to play soccer. It will be the same youth that will carry the name Rot Weiss Erfurt if they survive the worst of times as they are doing right now. For the city set to host the German Garden Show (BUGA) in 2021, Erfurt and soccer go together like bread and butter. It’s just not the same without RWE, let alone profi-soccer, something we will not see for a while.
Erfurt has not been the lone city suffering from soccer misfortunes. Another Regionalliga rival, Wacker Nordhausen, filed for insolvency in November after carrying a massive debt the Team could not handle. It received a nine-point penalty and could also face a demotion if there is no plan to save the team. FC Carl Zeiss Jena is on the brink of going down to the Regionalliga after a very poor performance during the soccer season. It currently is in last place.
Information on Rot-Weiss-Erfurt can be found here:
As well as the folding of the club: