(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s professional football league has canceled a potential €1 billion ($1.1 billion) media rights deal with private equity firms, bowing to increasing pressure from fans and clubs.

“In view of current developments, a successful continuation of the process no longer seems possible,” Germany’s football league, DFL Deutsche Fussball Liga Gmbh, professional football’s governing body, said in a statement Wednesday.

German football will now remain one of the last holdouts to foreign investment, with its clubs protected from full takeovers, and smaller clubs repeatably rebuffing previous attempts to agree on a private equity deal.

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Blackstone Inc. dropped out of the bidding last week following a fan backlash. Discussions were continuing with the remaining bidder, CVC Capital Partners, despite one club calling for the process to be canceled.

CVC had valued the business at €12.5 billion, while Blackstone Inc. has pegged it at €11.9 billion, Bloomberg previously reported. DFL was seeking bids of up to €1 billion for a stake of as much as 8% in a subsidiary housing the Bundesliga broadcasting rights.

“German professional soccer is in the midst of a tug-of-war that is not only taking place within the league association between the clubs, but also within the clubs between professionals, coaches, club managers, supervisory bodies, members’ meetings and fan communities,” the DFL said in its statement.

The step marks the third failed attempt in the past couple years to sell a stake in a broadcasting rights vehicle to a financial investors. DFL last month chose Blackstone and CVC as the final bidders after a number of offers. 

The DFL had hoped to raise capital and bring in outside expertise to keep up England’s Premier League. Other rival leagues in Spain and France already have similar financial arrangements with CVC.

While the majority of Germany’s 36 professional clubs was in favor of the deal, opposition from many smaller clubs grew over the past few weeks. 

The narrow vote by clubs in December in favor of a deal with a private equity firm was based on a “very fragile foundation,” FC Koln said in a recent letter to DFL.

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