A bitter power struggle broke out behind the scenes at the Hamburger Sport-Verein . Last week, the club’s ten most important men met for a six-hour session to discuss the consequences of the coronavirus crisis and one question: Can HSV, who has accumulated balance sheet losses of 74 million euros since 2011, and depended on the help of his investor Klaus-Michael Kühne to survive the crash without further ado?
According to CFO Frank Wettstein, liquidity is guaranteed at least until summer and the license for the first two professional leagues is not in danger – despite a predicted loss of up to 20 million euros. After the longest crisis meeting in recent club history, it is unclear who will lead the club in the future. Because Wettstein not only explained the numbers to the controllers of the association, but above all that in this constellation the board could no longer go on.
Investor Kuehne continues to mix vigorously with
In the middle of the global crisis, HSV has to struggle with its very own virus, which requires personnel consequences at least once a year. This time it’s about the CEO Bernd Hoffmann.
The mixed situation in the management level is complicated. Hoffmann is primarily confronted by his two board colleagues, Wettstein, a confidant of investor Kühne, and head of sports Jonas Boldt. Both accuse him of exceeding competencies and going it alone, which is said to have contributed to considerable atmospheric disturbances. These differences have been exposed by some media in the past few weeks. In general, a lot of what has been discussed in secret can be read in detail in newspapers and blogs. At HSV this is always a sign of upcoming changes. The investor Kühne also plays an important role this time.
Since Hoffmann returned to HSV two years ago, he has been trying to make the association more independent of his benefactor’s money. This has upset the 82-year-old, who holds over 20 percent of the shares in HSV Fußball AG. He has at least three other allies on the Supervisory Board who are following his course against Hoffmann: Club President Marcell Jansen , his personal representative Markus Frömming and Michael Krall.
But the Hoffmann opponents are not only united by the distrust of the CEO, everyone also has personal interests. Jansen wants to be number one at HSV himself at some point, Wettstein tried two years ago, while Frömming also wants to move from the supervisory board to the board. For this, however, an additional, fourth position in the management would have to be created.
The next change of personnel will probably be in the summer
If HSV rearranged itself and Hoffmann kicked out, the chances of new financial support from Kuehne would be again greater. But is it really such a good idea to completely surrender yourself to the investor in the crisis? Since Kuehne joined the HSV, despite extensive financial injections things are only going downhill . He himself played a significant part in this because he only provided the club with just enough money to keep it afloat. His requests for personnel, both internally and externally, have regularly turned out to be flops. Now he wants to see Jansen at the top of the HSV.
Hoffmann’s trump card in this power struggle is that the supervisory board chairman Max-Arnold Köttgen is one of his supporters. He made it clear to both camps in the club that there was no room for trench warfare at this stage. Nevertheless, it already appears to be clear that the supervisory board must take action at the latest in summer. Once again.