Striker Nicolas Kühn attracts the attention of scouts early on. As a 15-year-old, he moves from Hannover 96 to RB Leipzig. Although the rules of the German Football Association (DFB) prohibit making money with underage gamblers, the brokers smell a deal – and come with dubious methods apparently at their expense.
He is a striker through and through. That has always been so, they tell to this day at TSV Klein Heidorn, firing absolutely fixed on goal. Nicolas Kühn started playing football at the Bambini village club near Hanover. A trifle with “graceful movements,” says Yvo Kühn and shows in the sports club story of NDR television proud of a photo of his early courted son. Nicolas was considered one of the greatest talents of the Republic, as one as the only one year older Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen . The advisors were queuing – and apparently came under circumvention of the rules of the German Football Association (DFB) at their expense. This is shown by secret Football Leaks documents that the “Spiegel” received and shared with the NDR and the research network EIC.
Nicolas Kühn, consultant, RB Leipzig and a deal
The pulling and tugging at young footballers is great. Football Leaks documents prove that counselors and clubs seem to transcend borders. An example of this is the case of Nicolas Kühn.
Top clubs knocked on
Today’s 18-year-old Nicolas Kühn has been playing for Ajax Amsterdam since this season, in the assault of the second team. His career stalled on the way to the Bundesliga, while the von Havertz straightway led to the national team. The scouts were at the “Millennium Kid”, as he was baptized because of his birthday on January 1, 2000 from the boulevard, as well as every day on the mat, as he after stations in Wunstorf and FC St. Pauli again in the youth of Hannover 96 kicked. Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Hamburger SV knocked on, wanted to bring the hopeful striker to himself.
Father Kühn: “The milieu has its own way”
“Of course, there were always people who spoke to you,” says Yvo Kühn. Why should not they help the father of the Goalgetters with help and advice? Per se, nothing is reprehensible. As long as the consultants do not want to earn money with a minor. Because that prohibit the DFB rules. But with Nicolas Kühn it was obviously no problem to avoid the ban. “The milieu has its own way of addressing,” says Kühn senior.
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It seemed a bit weird to him, that “suddenly there is someone who has not even invited”. If he wanted an advisor for his son, he would have wanted to take care of it himself. “It’s absurd for a club to hire a consultant, or you can say it more wickedly.” Nice they were, however, sensitive and insinuating. “In a way, pleasant.” Andreas Rettig understands the needs of the parents. “They are overwhelmed when they are confronted with it for the first time,” says the managing director of FC St. Pauli and recommends to seek the advice of a lawyer. Coming directly from a carnival party to the Sportclub studio in a clown costume, the Rhinelander adds in a serious and unvarnished way: “Nonsense is made with dreams.”
Consultant with proximity to RB Leipzig
That the people of the agency “Spielerrat” had a certain closeness to RB Leipzig and its sports director Ralf Rangnick, Yvo Kühn probably noticed. And he also realized that “the adviser has his own interests and does not represent those of the player.” How the deal ended is explained by confidential mails and other documents from the Football Leaks fund.
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Because Nicolas Kühn was still a minor then other ways were found to make a lucrative business despite the clear DFB rules from the move to Saxony. The separated parents, but above all Mother Sabine, at the time Nicolas lived at the time, judged the agency as obviously unaware. An internal email states that one “does not believe that Nic and his mother will be able to make a sensible and ‘right’ decision.” A compliant family?
Wages for fictional work?
The arguments for a change to Leipzig were formulated against this background. First, the strategy was to lure the mother with a job offer. The pay for apparently fictitious work should pay RB Leipzig. “… we call it ‘back school’ …”, it says in a confidential mail to the mother. And: The apparent offer amounted to 25,000 euros per year, for which they should make regular bills. In fact, the then 15-year-old moved to Leipzig and succeeded in the youth national teams. And “Spielerrat” should cash for the mediation – despite the ban on the association.
In the Football Leaks documents there is a signed by RB Leipzig fee agreement. Under the point “pay” it says: “150,000 euros flow when Nic plays with 17 years in the first team.” How the other 20,000 euros should be paid, describes an internal mail: “The 20k we ‘somehow & somewhere’ get ‘means that we RB honored us in an upcoming transfer for the (not) work done.” Club and “players council” deny such a trickery. And about the contracts: no comment. “Payments or other benefits in transfers of underage football players we have never received,” said the agency. At RB Leipzig it sounds similar: “We would like to emphasize that there was no payment or other services to the player brokerage agency ‘Spielerrat’ (or another player brokerage company) at any time in connection with the change of player by Nicolas Kühn.” Rettig: “The fact that our advisors receive money for such services at FC St. Pauli is out of the question.”
Powerless: “DFB is not the FBI”
And what does the German Football Association say? “The DFB is not sitting at the table when an association talks to players about contracts,” says Markus Hirte. For two years he has been head of talent development. The association was the hands tied, he lacked the legal means. “The DFB is just not the FBI and the federal police,” he says. So there is a rule for the protection of minor players whose compliance can not be controlled. The former Bundesliga professional Armin Kraaz, who heads the junior performance center of Eintracht Frankfurt today, draws a gloomy picture: “I do not think we have reached the end of the flagpole at some point it will also tackle the eleven and twelve year olds.”