Bundesliga battlers 1. FSV Mainz 05 have elected a new president, after the embarrassing departure of Johannes Kaluza in November 2017.
At the Members Assembly on Sunday, favourite Jürgen Doetz went down by 250 votes to 53-year-old Stefan Hofmann, who was elected to lead the club that currently sits in 15th place on the Bundesliga table.
Doetz lost out as a candidate to Kaluza in June, with defining votes coming from the Mainz Ultra bloc. They argued he was anti-supporter and neglected fans during his 29-year tenure as vice-president behind Harald Strutz.
Challengers to Doetz included 50-year-old Eva-Maria Federhenn, who has been involved with the club for over 23 years, Silvio Aita and Hofmann. Federmann was looking to become the first female president of a Bundesliga establishment ever. Hofmann worked closely with youth players as Academy head coach until 2017.
But the decision came amidst an unexpected stand against the establishment, with the 1288-strong voting public questioning whether or not they actually wanted an election.
Chairman Detlev Höhne was visibly frustrated, “over the last few days, our club has been debating what candidates we want to choose – and now the discussion is whether such a choice makes sense at all.”
As emotions simmered, each candidate had the opportunity to introduce themselves in a last shot to nab votes from the crowd.
Jürgen Doetz said members should vote for the elect “who can help quickly, vigorously and intensively.” His pitch spoke out against pyros and stadium explosives, reiterating the time for experiments had come to an end.
Next up, Silvio Aita. He grew up as a dedicated fan in the vicinity of the club and argued mainstream media largely ignored him “editorially” in the election lead up.
Eva Federhenn thanked voters for their confidence, stressing that the club can only go forward together without infighting. She argues that while money is essential for the club, the people who love stand behind it are just as important.
Stefan Hofmann spoke last. He called the assembly numbers “extremely impressive” and referred to his alleged motivation in leaving the Academy. After twelve years, he said new perspectives were needed. This was time “for change.”
During question time, a verbal fight broke out between a female member and Federhenn, with crowds booing the member away.
— Mara Pfeiffer 🐱 (@Wortpiratin) January 21, 2018
After much deliberation, final votes were eventually submitted through a new electronic system and Hofmann then named as the surprising president-elect.
Confirmed details surrounding the presidential role, and what financial support opportunities are available will be revealed in the upcoming weeks.
Mainz face Leverkusen in a must-win Bundesliga clash on Sunday, before league leaders FC Bayern Munich visit the OPEL Arena next month.