HSV – RBS friendly cancelled over economic intrusion

A German football team have ditched their plans to play a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg (RBS) to highlight their point of view regarding the engagement of companies in the sport.Hamburger SV (HSV) announced today (Weds) they decided not to meet the Austrian league champions as initially agreed upon in the run-up to the next season this summer.The German Bundesliga powerhouse said they wanted to send a clear message to Martin Kind, the president of league rivals Hannover 96 with this decision. Kind hinted he was in favour of axing the so-called 50+1 regulation which is currently in force in professional German football. The law ensures international investors cannot acquire a majority stake in German football teams. Several English Premier League clubs have been taken over by American and Asian business groups and entrepreneurs in the past years.Red Bull entered the football pitch six years ago when it took over Austria Salzburg to relabel the club into RBS. The Austrian energy drinks producer went on to snatch up US Major League Soccer (MLS) side MetroStars the following year. The club – whose star player is ex-Arsenal captain Thierry Henry – is called New York Red Bulls today. Red Bull also owns RB Leipzig who perform in Germany’s fourth-highest semi-professional league. Furthermore, the Salzburg-based company runs football youth academies in Ghana and Brazil. Red Bull had started sponsoring extreme sport athletes many years before it decided to get active in football.RBS did not comment on HSV’s announcement. HSV are currently seventh in the 18-team Bundesliga. RBS – who face Rapid Vienna in the sold-out Gerhard Hanappi Stadium in Vienna this Sunday (kickoff: 4pm; live broadcast by Sky and ORF) – won the league three times but never managed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. The team of Ricardo Moniz have a small chance to defend their title. RBS are fifth in the 10-team Austrian Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Sturm Graz.RBS look back on many ups and downs since Moniz has taken over after Huub Stevens had been fired. The club embarrassed themselves by losing 0-1 to LASK Linz before crushing Sturm (3-0). The team suffered a bitter 2-3 defeat against Walter Kogler’s Wacker Innsbruck last Saturday.The Austrian Bundesliga table after 30 of 36 rounds:Sturm Graz, 52 pointsAustria Vienna, 51Rapid Vienna, 48SV Ried, 48Red Bull Salzburg, 47Wacker Innsbruck, 45Magna Wiener Neustadt, 42Kapfenberg, 33SV Mattersburg, 26LASK Linz, 17