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With FC Südtirol, a club from the autonomous province of Bozen in series B. The young club overcomes borders for the first time since 1948.

Leroy Sane does not remember the “Sportzone Rungg” in Eppan. After a very mixed preparation there, the highly talented young star in 2018 was canceled by the then national coach Joachim Löw from the World Cup squad. FC South Tyrol proves that great can also arise near the Montiggler forest – not only on the green football grass.

Master and promoted to series B: With the FCS, a club from the autonomous province of Bozen/South Tyrol will be competing with the FCS for the first time since the AC Bolzano in the 1947/48 season in the second highest division in Italy. Club director Hannes Fischnaller sees “a new era”, the gazzetta dello sport writes of a “fairy tale”. After all, the club is only 27 years old and started in the Landesliga after its foundation in 1995.

Even more: he is successful in an ethnic area of tension and even has a connecting effect there. This is anything but a matter of course. The political debates in the province are still revealing the expansion of autonomy.

Right parties dream of the right -wing populist FPÖ from Austria, the detachment of Rome, a Free State or access to the Alpine Republic.

FC South Tyrol and the sensitive minds

The FCS had succeeded in “tearing down the church tower policy fences”, judged the neue Südtiroler daily newspaper. Even the 23 percent Italian -speaking people in the region, in addition to the 62 percent native of German native speakers in the minority, “got used to speaking of FC Sudtirol” and understood that this model of success “is not directed against them”.

The club had to find out how sensitive the minds are when he replaced the Italian Alto Adige (South Tyrol) in his coat of arms with “Bolzano – Bozen” and ran “ethnic spark” storm.

“Every second that you deal with such things is lost time,” said managing director Dietmar Pfeifer. Large clubs all over the world marketed themselves internationally, but “with us in small South Tyrol you argue about whether you have a term in German or Italian”. Absurd.

FC South Tyrol with over 150 sponsors

Especially since the group of entrepreneurs, who came together in 1995 to found the club, deliberately wanted to build FCS as a “advertising medium” for all of South Tyrol, as the shower cubicle manufacturer Hans Krapf once explained.

He still holds 36 percent of the FCS today, which, based on the Bundesliga model, generates more than half of the revenue about his over 150 (!) Sponsors. With Gerhard Comper, the administrative director of a brewery (Forst) took over the presidency in autumn, and his vice -leaders held management posts at the Sparkasse or the fruit cooperatives.

The gazzetta dedicated a special page to this “Modelo South Tyrol” (with Ü!) And praised the infrastructure. The newly renovated Drusus stadium in Bolzano has 5,500 places, the training center in Eppan is compatible with the first division.

FC Südtirol: Little salary, low budget

Dietmar Pfeifer über das neue FC-Südtirol-Stadion
The club in no way throws around with money, with a maximum of 90,000 euros/year not even a third of what the competition pays. The budget is five million euros, Padua or Trieste spend twice as much. The ascent is therefore surprising.

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However, the club, which plays white-red in the South Tyrolean state colors, does not see itself as a second division-on-day fly. In the long term, says manager Fischnaller, you can “play in front” – and continue the fairy tale.

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