After the failed entry of an investor, the inner turmoil of German professional football is evident. The big players in the industry in particular are struggling with the decision.
The collapsed billion-dollar deal from the German Football League (DFL) threatens to split German professional football. In particular, the industry leaders Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund see their international competitiveness in acute jeopardy over the next few years.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s board spokesman, Axel Hellmann, even fears that the top clubs will go it alone in marketing in the future. The German Press Agency answers the most important questions about the situation after an investor failed to get involved.
What’s next for the DFL?
The most urgent task is to fill the position of managing director, as the dual leadership with Axel Hellmann and Oliver Leki, which was installed after the separation from Donata Hopfen in December 2022, will end as planned on June 30th. “It is clear to us that we will present a new CEO in July,” announced the head of the supervisory board, Hans-Joachim Watzke, after the extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday in Frankfurt am Main.
What does the new manager expect at the DFL?
The league has been in turmoil since the departure of ex-boss Christian Seifert in December 2021. Income from media marketing is declining, and the corona pandemic has caused a painful loss of billions. Now the 36 professional clubs also seem to be at odds. This could lead to a split.
In addition, the tender for the new media contract from 2025 must be prepared. The league has to drill a thick board, because the income from the classic model with TV, radio and Internet seems to have been exhausted. Not an easy undertaking, especially since the interests of the clubs sometimes diverge widely. “The clubs need capital, which looks different in the second division than in the international clubs,” said Hellmann and described the rejection of the investor plans as a “defeat for central marketing”.
Does the vote threaten to break up the community of solidarity?
If one interprets Watzke’s statements correctly, this danger definitely exists. “Bayern Munich and my club in particular have made a great deal of input. We would have shifted many of our rights to the central area to strengthen solidarity. Since this is not desired, the larger clubs will certainly think about how things will continue for them “said the managing director of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn also sees the decision as a weakening of German professional football. “The aim was to strengthen the Bundesliga and the second Bundesliga. With this model, the larger clubs would have shown a lot of solidarity with the smaller ones,” said Kahn of the German Press Agency. Now there is a danger “that the gap to England and Spain will continue to grow. And that would be damaging for all clubs, the bigger and the smaller,” added the 53-year-old. Hellmann is certain: “This decision tends to widen the gap within the Bundesliga.”
What does the broken deal mean for professional clubs in the near future?
The DFL top paints a gloomy scenario. “You have to be aware of the consequences: in the next two years it will be a complicated undertaking,” said interim managing director Oliver Leki. And Watzke complained: “The investment framework that we need in particular for foreign marketing is not available at the moment. That will all be delayed.” The DFL Presidium must promptly discuss which deductions are made from this. “Competitiveness is obviously not that important to many in the league, otherwise the way could have been cleared,” grumbled the BVB boss.
What do the critics of the investor plan say?
They call for a continuation of the debate on how the league can ensure the financial growth it needs in other ways. “Significant further development only arises from a controversial discussion. That’s why we at FC Schalke 04 stand for not stopping the discourse now, but intensifying it,” appealed the chairman of the Revierclub, Bernd Schröder. Oke Göttlich, President of the second division club FC St. Pauli, struck a similar note. “We first have to develop a clear strategy, together and constructively – and then we can finance it in a targeted manner in order to achieve our clearly defined goals,” said Göttlich.
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