Press Release by the Coalition against BAYER-dangers

With a little help of my friends

World Cup 2006 Soccer

World Cup Soccer Championship will be held once again in rich Europe, for the tenth time altogether. And what a coincidence: Germany is not only the organizer of the games, but it is also the home of media mogul Leo Kirch, who paid 1.7 billion US dollars for the television rights to the next two World Cups. Kirch needs the games to finally help his Pay TV project onto the road to success. The enthusiastic sports fans of South Africa will have to wait a long time. They won't be allowed to organize any large sporting events as long as their market doesn't promise the same advertising revenue that the European or American markets do.

The degradation of soccer to purely factors of image and location is also documented in the close relationship of the German Soccer Association (DFB) with the Pharmaceutical Company Bayer. The corporation is supporting the World Cup application with huge donations, since it is hoping to hold some publicity-rich games in Leverkusen's BayArena. This should easily distract people from the dirty history of the Bayer Group. The Leverkusen stadium with its 22,500 seats may not meet the FIFA rules, which stipulate 40,000 seats, but the BayArena is a sure candidate for holding the games.

No other club in Germany forces the commercialization of soccer like BAYER 04 Leverkusen. Ever since the club was converted to a company the team has been kicking "for the purpose of being used as an advertising medium for the BAYER AG". At least that is what the corresponding entry in the Handelsregister German register of companies says. You can't put the degradation of the sport into an image factor more clearly than that. The complete takeover of the club was also not allowed according to the new DFB rules; however, Leverkusen's managing director Wolfgang Holzhaeuser was able to push through a Lex Bayer. Holzhaeuser knows the structure of the world's largest sports trade association very well; he was League Secretary of the DFB before his engagement.