Bundesliga big four pledge financial aid for rival clubs - GulfToday

Bundesliga big four pledge financial aid for rival clubs

Bayern-Munich

Bayern Munich along with other three clubs have come forward to help small teams financially. Reuters

Four of Germany’s biggest football clubs have pledged 20 million euros ($22 million) to help Bundesliga rivals facing financial difficulty in the coronavirus crisis, the German Football League (DFL) announced on Thursday.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig -- all of whom qualified for this season’s Champions League -- said they would make the funds available for crisis-hit clubs in the top two German divisions, which are run by the DFL.

“This decision underlines the fact that solidarity is not an empty word in the Bundesliga,” said DFL president Christian Seifert.

“The DFL is very grateful to the four Champions League participants.” The four clubs will forego 12.5 million euros of their remaining share of next season’s TV rights revenues, and add a further 7.5 million euros from their own reserves.

The DFL itself will be responsible for deciding how the money is distributed among clubs in the top two divisions.

“In these difficult times, it is important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders. We want to show that football stands together,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in a statement.

“We always said that we wanted to show solidarity when clubs fall into difficulty due to this extraordinary situation and through no fault of their own,” said his Dortmund counterpart Hans-Joachim Watzke.

The Dortmund CEO had previously caused outrage by arguing that clubs who had made “financial and sporting mistakes” in recent years should not be bailed out by richer rivals.

In a country where few clubs are financed by billionaire investors, many Bundesliga stalwarts are concerned for their futures in the crisis.

Players at relegation-threatened Werder Bremen have offered to forego wages in order to ease the financial burden on the club, while Schalke’s head of marketing Alexander Jobst has said that “the existence of the club” is at stake.

With the league suspended until at least the end of April, most clubs are hoping that the season can be played out behind closed doors in the summer to avoid severe losses in TV revenues.

Former Bayern president Uli Hoeness warned Thursday that if no games were held before the end of the year, “the league’s entire basis of existence will be threatened”.

“Right now, solidarity needs to be lived, not just talked about,” Hoeness told Kicker magazine.

Meanwhile, Union Berlin players on Wednesday said they will forego their wages in an effort to help the Bundesliga club ride out the coronavirus storm.

Six days after fellow top-flight side Borussia Moenchenglandbach waived their salaries, Union followed suit.

Club management and other employees have agreed to short-time working arrangements, which will also result in salary cuts, said a statement.

“These are exceptional circumstances we have to deal with,” said club president Dirk Zingler.

“Our club’s purpose is football. If it ceases to exist, then it will touch the core of our existence.

“The management, our staff, the squad and backroom staff have worked hard in recent months to ensure success in the Bundesliga.

“Now they are giving up a lot of money to get through this crisis together.” Like all German sides, Union and Gladbach are set to lose income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the COVID-19 outbreak with all Bundesliga matches suspended until at least April 2.

On Tuesday, Bayern Munich and Dortmund players sais they would accept a cut in wages. So far, the coronavirus has claimed 149 lives in Germany.

Elsewhere, the Bundesliga is launching an online tournament between clubs for the next two weeks, with each team made up of a professional player and a member of club staff, the German Football League (DFL) announced on Wednesday.

With all football halted by the coronavirus pandemic, 26 of the 36 clubs in the top two German divisions have signed up for the “Bundesliga Home Challenge”, which will begin on 28 March using the FIFA 20 game, the DFL said.

The games will be shown on Saturday and Sunday at the usual times for Bundesliga matches on the YouTube channel normally reserved for another eFootball competition, the Virtual Bundesliga.

That has been organised by the German top-flight since 2012 with dedicated teams sponsored by the clubs and was due to play its final this weekend, before it was halted because of coronavirus restrictions.

Agencies

Related articles