1.07.2021Bayer 04

History: Professional contracts at Leverkusen

On 5 June 1949, the Western Germany Football Association decided to introduce professional contracts for players. Every club then had to make their own decision: professional or amateur. Full-time professional football was initially rejected but the first step was taken in the direction of players on professional contracts. A contract player was allowed to earn a maximum of 320 Deutschmarks a month but everybody knew the good players could earn up to 800 Deutschmarks.

There was a big debate in Leverkusen and the half-yearly general meeting was brought forward. On Monday 18 July 1949, the big decision was taken in the Burghof on Rathenaustraße. The club members voted to introduce professional contracts by an overwhelming majority with only four votes against – the football section was then made up of professional players and amateurs.



The Bayer 04 Leverkusen first team were playing in the Second Oberliga West at the time. All the players now received a monthly salary from the club as well as from their employers – that was mostly the Bayer works. A week in the life of a professional at Bayer 04 in 1949 looked like this: Work every weekday, training on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 o'clock in the evening and on Sunday there was a league match. Depending on the result of the game: Slaps on the back or insults at work. The men played in front of their workmates every Sunday. And they were expected to give their all as they were being paid for it even though the monthly payments would hardly raise a smile today. Key performers earned 200 Deutschmarks a month at Bayer 04 plus expenses of ten Deutschmarks per match.

The decision taken at the Burghof in July 1949 was the starting shot for our Bayer 04 as we know it today.


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