Tuesday, August 25, 2015

25 August 1930 - The Schalke 04 Fourteen

On 25 August 1930, the Western Germany Football Association (the Westdeutscher Spielverband or WSV) banned fourteen players for receiving illegal payments. 

All fourteen players were from FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, who had won the regional Western Germany football championship in 1929 and 1930. The club had paid the players ten Reichsmarks instead of the allowed five for an away match, prompting the WSV to issue the ban. One of the banned players was striker Ernst Kuzorra, who played for Schalke from 1927 to 1950 and is regarded by many as the club's greatest player. 

The players were banned for the 1930-31 season, but were allowed to return the following season, when Schalke rattled off two more Western Germany titles (1932, 1933). But the effects of the ban extended beyond the pitch - eight members of the Schalke board were expelled from the WSV and club treasurer Willie Nier, who had attempted to conceal the illegal payments, committed suicide by drowning himself in the Rhine-Herne Canal. 

Schalke continued its successful run, winning seven German championships between 1934 and 1958. After a fallow period in the 1980s and '90s, they have returned to prominence, most recently finishing sixth in the Bundesliga.

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