St Pauli saved as support pours in from fans

HAMBURG: Former Bundesliga team FC St Pauli, lifted by an outpouring of support from their fans, will be eligible to play in the third division next season after getting financial guarantees from banks and the city of Hamburg. 

After a series of fund-raising efforts, including a “Down the pints for St Pauli” weekend in local taverns, the HSH Landesbank and city of Hamburg said they would guarantee 1.95 million euros (US$2.3 million) to preserve the club's third-division status. 

St. Pauli, who played in the top two divisions for 17 years, have suffered consecutive relegations that have seen them drop from the Bundesliga to the third division after they finished 17th in the 18-team second division in the last campaign. 

The club, based in Hamburg's red-light district, would have faced relegation to the fourth division if they had failed to raise the finance to keep their third-division licence. 

“The enthusiastic response of many thousands of Hamburg residents has turned into a genuine public movement for FC St Pauli,” said Hamburg mayor Ole von Beust. “The club is in the hearts of people not just in that quarter but across the city.” 

A 50 euro cent supplement was added to the price of every beer sold in the quarter over the weekend with the proceeds earmarked for the team and 20,000 euros was raised. 

The club also held charity concerts, sold 43,000 “Saviour” T-shirts, and arearranging friendly matches against Bayern Munich and Hamburg SV. – Reuters  

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