WITHAt least professional sport can continue as it did last. While large parts of public life in Germany will be drastically shut down for the second time this year from Wednesday, the Bundesliga, for example, will continue as planned, unlike in spring and despite the corona pandemic. This emerges from the decision of the Bund-Länder-Round with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Sunday, in which professional sport is not explicitly mentioned. Football, handball and the like, which have been taking place in front of empty spectators since the partial lockdown at the beginning of November, were also not an issue at the subsequent press conference.
Loosening of the audience question, which sport had initially hoped for, will therefore also be off the table until at least January 10th, but were in any case illusory given the overall situation. Despite huge financial losses without an audience, the bosses of the Bundesliga are grateful that they can continue to play in the current time. “We are all happy that we can play football. It’s a lot for everyone, of course. But we’re allowed to play, ”said Gladbach’s coach Marco Rose.
The statements made by Borussia manager Max Eberl in the ZDF “Sportstudio”, according to which the sport had not yet received any signals for another stop, were confirmed on Sunday. The fact that Chancellor Merkel, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) did not mention the sport at all in their press conference on Sunday morning was a blessing this time. While one was eagerly awaiting signals for a continuation in the spring, one is now happy as long as everything can go on according to plan.
It is undisputed that the crisis, which has now lasted for nine months, has a major impact on the future of professional leagues and sports clubs. “That will leave massive marks on the clubs’ balance sheets”, DFL managing director Christian Seifert predicted last Monday at the general meeting of the 36 professional clubs. In addition to the audience losses, Seifert named a collapse in sums on the transfer market and declining sponsorship services as the core of the Corona problem for professional clubs.
The Bundesliga clubs lose huge sums of money with the ghost games, but because of the TV money they are dependent on being allowed to play at least in front of empty stands. Seifert put the loss of viewer money at a total of “around 650 million euros” this season. The risks are significantly greater “than has been perceived by one or the other club up to now,” explained Seifert. “This realization will arrive very soon.”
In spring, the Bundesliga was interrupted for more than two months from mid-March before it continued in empty arenas and with a hygiene concept. Other sports like ice hockey or handball broke off their season completely and paused much longer. Since the partial lockdown at the beginning of November, not only spectators are banned from professional sport, but also all amateur and junior sport. This will also continue to apply until January 10th.
In the Bundesliga, the TV billions are being redistributed
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Big changes are coming to the Bundesliga. The money from the TV contracts should be distributed more fairly in the short term. DFL boss Seifert only sees the financial storm coming: “Last season was a mild breeze.”
Dhe TV billions will in future be distributed more evenly among the 36 clubs in the Bundesliga and 2nd division. With the new regulation of the distribution key for the around five billion euros in marketing income, the German Football League wants to cushion the effects of the corona pandemic in the next two seasons, said league managing director Christian Seifert on Monday in Frankfurt am Main.
In the two years thereafter, the performance concept, the promotion of young talent and the interest in the respective clubs should be weighted more heavily.
The basis for the distribution from the marketing of national media rights in the 2021/22 to 2024/25 seasons is a new four-pillar model. The category “equal distribution” accounts for 53 percent of the income in the first two years, after that it is still 50 percent.
The performance of the past five seasons is weighted initially at 42 percent, then at 43 percent. According to the DFL, the remainder is made up of the pillars “young talent” and “interest”. The international proceeds will also be distributed according to a new key that aims to end the recent dispute among clubs.
“The spread is guaranteed to decrease nationally and internationally,” said Seifert, but added: “Reducing a spread between Bavaria and Bielefeld by giving Bayern five million less and Bielefeld five million more does not make the championship more exciting. “
“Clubs have done too little at the front of player salaries”
The Bundesliga would face further severe cuts, said Seifert. Including last season, the clubs will lose around two billion in sales by the 2021/22 season: “Last season was at best a mild breeze, but now the storm is coming.”
He warned the clubs to further reduce player salaries in the Corona crisis. “One or the other club will have to continue working on its cost base. I’ve now seen the balance sheet, “said Seifert:” Some clubs have done too little in terms of player salaries. “
In order to have a better perspective, the DFL is examining the entry of international financial investors. There should be talks from February. “If the clubs should decide to do so, it will not be because you need short-term money now, but because you want to be better positioned for the time after the Covid pandemic,” said Seifert.
The investor question is about the sale of shares in a DFL subsidiary for international marketing. The DFL had already announced that it would prepare information meetings with companies from the private equity sector interested in minority interests.
New money rain? Investors are knocking on the Bundesliga
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German professional football is looking for new sources of income in the crisis. Apparently the DFL is planning to get investors on board. There seems to be great interest. It’s about 200 to 300 million euros.
Dhe meeting is scheduled for Monday morning. And as in previous months, if there was something to be discussed, discussed or decided, the 36 invited participants will connect by video – this is how it is with conferences for the most part in Corona times.
The German Football League (DFL), under whose roof the 18 first division and 18 second division clubs operate, has invited the clubs to a meeting. In addition to the recently heavily controversial distribution of TV money, there is also another economically very important point on the agenda: Apparently the DFL is planning to sell subsidiaries to investors. It is said that DFL boss Christian Seifert wants to inform the club representatives. It is explicitly about the sale of shares in the DFL subsidiary Bundesliga International GmbH.
Since there will be less money from the marketing of media rights from the coming season, the Bundesliga needs new sources of income, because from the coming season there will be less money to be distributed from the marketing of media rights. A few weeks ago, the DFL Presidium, which comprises nine members and meets with the 36 club representatives one day before the meeting, is said to have discussed investor offers for a subsidiary of DFL GmbH for the first time.
In any case, the interest of financial investors in getting involved in German professional football seems to be great. As the “Financial Times” reports, more than 20 addresses from the private equity camp have asked the DFL. Private equity are equity investments that are acquired in non-listed companies. The newspaper names around 20 investment companies such as Advent International, Apax, Ardian, Apollo, Bain Capital and BC Partners.
Secret meeting in Frankfurt
In Italy, the Italian Serie A cleared the way for the sale of a ten percent stake in the company for its media rights and will receive 1.7 billion euros in return.
According to the “Financial Times”, shares with a volume of 200 to 300 million euros are to be sold in the event of a possible investor deal, whereby the company would be valued at more than one billion euros. One of the goals of Bundesliga International GmbH is to install an online payment system to distribute Bundesliga games worldwide. Most recently there was talk of an app with which the DFL could directly market the moving images in some markets.
At the meeting of the clubs on Monday, however, the future distribution of the TV money will also be discussed. The DFL Presidium also wants to discuss this on Sunday – and then provide information. Most recently, an open dispute was sparked about it in the league, which culminated in a secret meeting of top officials from 14 Bundesliga clubs and the second division club Hamburger SV. The four Bundesliga clubs FC Augsburg, Arminia Bielefeld, 1. FSV Mainz 05 and VfB Stuttgart were not invited. The quartet had previously positioned itself on the question of the future distribution of the TV money and publicly advocated a new regulation.
The advance caused trouble. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of FC Bayern, spoke of a solidarity pact that “we did not break”. “They threw the gauntlet down to us,” he said to the address of the four first division clubs and their supporters from the second division.
ADuring the weekend, ARD ran a very profound documentary. Title: “On, on and on – Corona. The Bundesliga. The restart ”. In it, protagonists of German football tell how they experienced the past few months after the virus stopped social life in Germany in March and led to the first interruption of the Bundesliga since it was founded in 1963.
Above all, Christian Seifert, head of the German Football League (DFL), had his say and described in detail what happened in the spring when it came to the survival of German football.
The 48-minute film once again showed how much Seifert in particular got involved and acted. But a successor must now be found for the head of the DFL, who has proven himself in the crisis.
The managing director of the umbrella organization of the 36 professional clubs will not renew his contract, which ends on June 30, 2022. “The only clear decision for me is that I will open a new professional chapter,” said Seifert in an interview with BILD.
Seifert came from Karstadt
“These are challenging times that require clarity and reliability. That applies to the DFL as a whole and also to my professional ambitions, ”Seifert had previously communicated. Peter Peters, head of the supervisory board, in turn, let it be known that the supervisory board would approach the new appointment professionally without time pressure and set up a comprehensive process for this purpose.
He confirmed that the change at the top would mean a turning point. “Christian Seifert has done an outstanding job in more than 15 years”, says Peters: “and thus made a significant contribution to the success of the Bundesliga and the 2nd Bundesliga.”
In 2005 Seifert – married and father of two children – came to the DFL. He was previously CEO of KarstadtQuelle New Media AG and initially managing director rights, licenses, marketing. He soon succeeded Wilfried Straub as Chairman of the Management Board. The fact that Seifert doesn’t have a great footballing past didn’t matter then – and certainly not today.
The billionaire dealer
He tackled immediately and gave German football an immense upswing in the years that followed. The marketing of TV rights rose during his tenure from 400 million euros per season to more than one billion.
“The billionaire dealer” was the headline of “Kicker” in 2012 after a TV contract negotiated at the time and calculated that if Seifert got ten percent of a transfer like a player’s agent, he would have to receive 250 million euros. Seifert has no plans for his professional future yet. “A job at a club would not be the new professional chapter that I am aiming for,” he emphasized to the “image”. And: “I definitely rule out a change to the DFB in whatever role.”
How competent, eloquent, well networked and strong in leadership Seifert is was shown in the Corona crisis. When football came to a standstill and the players, coaches and supervisors were forced to take a break, Seifert became the face of German football. From then on, Seifert presented at regular press conferences what the 36 professional clubs had previously advised in video conferences under his leadership, strategically clever and also with a corresponding humility towards politics and the authorities.
Seifert led DFL through the crisis
Seifert was present on German television almost every week when there was something to report about the situation in professional football. Then he sat in front of the podium, calm and collected. He allowed every question there was. “Thank you for the question,” he usually replied first and then answered. From the beginning Seifert made no secret of the seriousness of the situation. He spoke of the threat of bankruptcy if the game cannot be continued.
“We make a product. But this product, which makes a handful of young soccer players rich, also guarantees work and a livelihood for at least 56,000 other people. ”Seifert was always clear in what he communicated. But as controlled as he often seemed, everything that has happened in the past few months has of course not passed him by. But on the contrary.
In a very personal interview, the DFL boss recently told the “Stern” how the difficult phase changed him himself. “I had a few nights with little sleep. The number of questions that came up was so great that I got up in the middle of the night and had to write everything down. ”When the Bundesliga dared to restart the world-wide acclaimed restart in May, he decided not to visit the stadium and preferred to mow at home the lawn. The pandemic was still not a trigger: “The situation of the last few months due to Corona has nothing to do with the decision.”
Watzke praises Seifert
Seifert, for whom it was “an honor and joy at the same time”, as he said on Monday, “will be able to actively shape the development of one of the largest sports leagues in the world, an important social institution and the establishment of one of the most innovative media companies in Germany” will be almost two years. now still be in office. Then he will leave big footsteps. Not only Hans-Joachim Watzke, the managing director of Borussia Dortmund, is already aware of this.
“German professional football is now asked to find a suitable successor. To replace a man like Christian Seifert, who has worked for football at such a high level for so long, 1: 1, is a difficult undertaking, “said Watzke. When asked about a successor, the promised one: “That is the task of the supervisory board. If you get my opinion or assessment, I am of course available. “
But which candidates are there? A dual leadership would be conceivable, in which the recognized DFL communications director Christian Pfennig plays a larger role. The name Michael Ilgner, previously Head of Sporthilfe, now Head of Human Resources at Deutsche Bank, is circulating.
One thing is clear: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (65), who will leave Bayern on December 31, 2021, is not available. A former club boss would always be accused of partiality anyway.
DFL managing director Christian Seifert will leave the German Football League (DFL) after his contract expires on June 30, 2022. “These are challenging times that require clarity and reliability. That applies to the DFL as a whole and also to my professional ambitions. That is why I informed Mr. Peter Peters, as chairman of the supervisory board, that I will be leaving the DFL after my contract expires in June 2022, ”said Seifert in a personal statement this Monday. He wants to open a new professional chapter in two years.
In his statement, Seifert wrote that at the head of the DFL he was able to “actively shape the development of one of the largest sports leagues in the world, an important social institution and the establishment of one of the most innovative media companies in Germany”. The DFL supervisory board learned about Seifert’s decision on Sunday evening, the chairman of which, Peter Peters, announced a “comprehensive process” in the search for a successor.
The DFL supervisory board will approach the new appointment “professionally without time pressure”. Seifert assured him that he would continue to tackle his duties at the DFL with “ambition and full commitment” until summer 2022. Like many representatives in German football, the DFL Supervisory Board regretted Seifert’s move, who had taken over the position of managing director in 2005.
The President of the German Football Association (DFB), Fritz Keller, praised Seifert as an “indispensable, passionate, knowledgeable champion for all of German football”. Seifert has been representing professional football for 15 years. During this time he also achieved great economic success for the clubs – and thus also made sporting success possible. The DFL managing director has also so far led the Bundesliga through the corona pandemic in an outstanding manner, said DFB President Keller. Seifert had recently given up his membership in the DFB Presidential Committee.
It had long been known that the 2022 World Cup would start in Qatar on November 21. Now it is also clear where the opening game will take place and at what times the games will be played.
Host Qatar will open the World Cup in the desert state on November 21, 2022 at 1 p.m. local time (11 a.m.CET). The venue for the encounter is the 60,000-seat al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, about 50 kilometers north of the capital Doha. This is based on the framework schedule that the FIFA World Cup published on Wednesday.
Four different kick-off times
The local kick-off times for the group matches are 1, 4, 7, and 10 p.m. (11, 2, 5 and 8 p.m. German time). The final round of the group games taking place at the same time as all matches of the knockout phase will kick off at 6 or 10 p.m. local time. The final will take place on December 18 at 6 p.m. local time in the 80,000-seat Lusail Stadium.
It is still unclear what the World Cup schedule means for the Bundesliga. There is currently no general calendar for the 2022/23 season. However, the game must be interrupted for several weeks, the season must therefore start earlier and end later. The German Football League (DFL) confirmed in January – before the corona crisis – that there were “several scenarios” for the 2022/23 season. The “worst case” would be a 17th matchday on November 13th, and there were only eight days until the World Cup.
Group phase lasts twelve days
DFL boss Christian Seifert had already said in the picture on Sunday that the Bundesliga “will probably start in July”. “It would be one of the earliest season starts we have ever had.” However, the Corona crisis will already have an impact on the calendar of the 2021/22 season, the consequences are still open.
The World Cup group phase lasts twelve days with four games each day. The individual group matches will only be distributed to the stadiums and kick-off times after the final draw. The interests of the fans on site and in the home countries of the teams concerned should also be taken into account. The draw “will probably take place after the window of the international game calendar for qualifying games in March 2022”, announced the FIFA.
WITHFor the first time in almost 20 years, the new Bundesliga season could open without the reigning champions. Due to the final tournaments in the European Cup scheduled for August, the German Football League is looking together with the clubs for “a path that can be used by everyone,” said DFL Managing Director Christian Seifert. The players should not be burdened excessively with this.
The 51-year-old did not rule out a start to the season in mid-September without FC Bayern, which is playing for the title in the Champions League in Portugal, in an interview with “Welt” (Wednesday). On Thursday, the DFL announced the new general schedule.
“A certain degree of flexibility is required in these times, and this applies to associations as well as clubs,” said Seifert. This could “lead to exceptional decisions in exceptional times”. The final 8 of the premier class takes place from August 12th to 23rd in Lisbon, in the Europa League in North Rhine-Westphalia from August 10th to 21st. The season has traditionally been opened in the stadium of the preseason champion since 2002, but this is not mandatory. Bayern won ten of their twelve games and lost none.
September 18 is the start date for the new season. Accordingly, the DFL, which is “still in talks with the DFB” because of the exact start date of the Bundesliga, asked the clubs of the Bundesliga and the second division for their assessment of various planning options in the course of creating a new schedule on Wednesday. In the second division, the ball could roll again on August 28, provided the winter break should not be shortened.
Whether with or without the champions – the goal remains that spectators can return to the stadiums in a timely manner, said Seifert. Until October 31, however, major events are still prohibited in Germany for which there is no hygiene concept and for which it is not possible to track visitors on the address side. “So it is the task of the DFL to develop a framework for what a higher-level hygiene concept can look like,” said Seifert. “In the end, however, politics and the local authorities decide.”
The clubs would then have to insert the site-specific content. “There can be no off-the-shelf solution, also because a stadium can be located in a region with more or less new infections and a mask requirement – and another cannot,” said Seifert. “Whether this is possible until mid-September depends on many factors.”
“I am not a friend of generally committing to 3000, 4000 or 5000 spectators,” said Seifert, who wants to put a lot of responsibility in the hands of the clubs on this question: “The DFL will only provide a basic guideline. Each club has to insert location-specific content into it. “
Because of the hardships in autumn, Seifert also wants to “maintain a minimum winter break”. How long this would be, he could no more predict than a precise solution in the discussion about the gradual re-admission of spectators. It also depends on whether the clubs agree to a model with more English weeks.
The implementation of far-reaching changes after the crisis, which had left many clubs worried about their existence, seems even more complicated. “The challenges in European football will be immense,” said Seifert. “To name just a few points: a possibly collapsing transfer market in the summer, possibly missing payments of open transfer rates, more difficult framework conditions for sponsoring – as well as an unpredictable time when the stadiums will be filled again.”
It is not about just distributing the money correctly. Those who believe this have “not yet recognized the dimension of these challenges,” said Seifert. “They also consist of rethinking the spending structure. The fact is: we would do well to take on topics like a salary cap in European football. However, we will certainly not be able to present the day after tomorrow with a ready-made, legally reliable concept for, for example, equity-based salary caps at team level in Europe. “
EThere is an appointment that we must not forget this year: Fritz Walter would have turned 100 in a few months. Those were football days when the down-to-earth Kaiserslautern was an idol on the pitch! Back then, you could inspire a national team with a plate of roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut.
And in the training camp, table tennis was played for book prizes donated by Sepp Herberger. You read books! Nevertheless, of course we do not wish ourselves and our footballers back the short post-war years. But it is high time for the new modesty that Christian Seifert, the head of the German Football League, announced this week.
The fact that he managed to complain about the gamble of the clubs, the excess of consultant fees and the sometimes “shamelessly displayed wealth” of the stars, and that he had concrete ideas for improvement is evidence of astonishing insight and repentance. Maybe soccer can regain the traditional roots that it lost through rampant megalomania.
When does the ball roll again? The Bundesliga plans to return to the game. Image: WITTERS
DFL boss Christian Seifert is more doubtful than before: Will the politics of the Bundesliga clear the way? Or will the top German football class become “collateral damage to the corona crisis”?
Aus Christian Seifert seemed to speak a lot of doubts on Thursday. Doubts that the plan of the German Football League (DFL) to end the season in the first and second Bundesliga with ghost games will go well. There are also doubts that there is sufficient public understanding for the positions that he brings to the public on behalf of the 36 professional clubs and that he negotiates with politics. Even doubt whether he himself did what was necessary and right to achieve this goal.
Bremen The Bundesliga breathes a sigh of relief. The first high-ranking politicians apparently clear the way for ghost games. From May 9, the ball could roll again in the Bundesliga – even without a spectator. That was what Markus Söder (CSU) and Armin Laschet (CDU), the prime ministers of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia, said on Monday in the “Bild” live program. The sports ministers of the federal states did not want to go so far and had considered a possible restart in mid-May.
However, the signs are not bad that the league can still end its season. “The prerequisite is that there is a well thought-out concept,” said Laschet. “What the DFL has presented these days shows that protective measures are in place. I could imagine that we can go back to the state of the ghost games. ”
Söder said: “This is a tightrope walk. We now have to be careful not to overdo it or be frivolous. Games with audience participation are completely unthinkable. Ghost games are also a tightrope walk. It is conceivable that we might be able to play such a ghost round at the earliest from May 9th. ”The CSU politician emphasized:“ A weekend with football is much more bearable than a weekend without football. ”
Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn does not want to block himself. “With the overall concept, ghost games are certainly possible again. It is crucial that the risk of infection is minimized. That would be a piece of normality for millions of football fans from May 9th, albeit in an empty stadium, ”said Spahn at“ Bild ”.
The Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 will pause until at least April 30. On Thursday, the German Football League wants to discuss further steps and a possible continuation of the season with ghost games. “These are positive signals that have been sent out. This gives both leagues an important perspective, ”said DFL boss Christian Seifert about the date, but also warned:“ Politics trust us, and we and especially the players must now be role models. ”
Possible games without spectators: positive signal
Shortly before, the conference of sports ministers had announced that Bundesliga football in front of empty ranks “according to the current state of discussion” would be justifiable from mid or late May. The ministers responsible for sport had not yet decided on an exact date when they called the phone on Monday, a statement said.
Söder and Laschet’s statements were “a very positive signal for the resumption of Bundesliga operations,” said Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at the request of the German Press Agency. “It is important that we deal with the legal and medical requirements of politicians in an exemplary and very serious manner in order to minimize the health risk.”
Rummenigge thanked “the management of the DFL with Christian Seifert at the top for an excellent concept that takes the organizational and medical aspects into account”. This concept is “the basis for a positive and trusting assessment of politics,” said Rummenigge.
Borussia Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke immediately used the announcement that the game would resume as a declaration of war. “The championship has not yet been decided. On the 34th matchday we will see who can hold up the bowl, ”he said“ Bild live ”.
Bremen sports senator and SMK chairwoman Anja Stahmann (Greens) said after the ministers’ conference call: “As far as the concepts have proven their worth, game operations can be extended to the third division, the women’s Bundesliga and the DFB Cup with a time lag . “
If the game continues, the DFL must “create, enforce and check the most stringent hygienic and medical conditions with appropriate measures,” said Stahmann. The television production for the games must take place with the lowest possible personnel and under strict hygienic conditions. The DFL and the clubs must also do their part to prevent ghost games from “gathering fan groups, even in the vicinity of the stadiums”, emphasized Stahmann after the debate with her counterparts.
Without the games from the nine remaining game days and the associated TV revenue, various clubs would have been in great financial need. The DFL has not yet reached a binding agreement on the payment of the fourth and final installment of more than 300 million euros to the clubs, as it announced last Friday.
The ministers also discussed prospects for the resumption of popular and elite sport and a gradual return to training and competition as part of the corona pandemic strategy. There are already exemptions for the training of professional athletes and senior athletes in most federal states. Where that was not the case, it should be made up for, it was said. With a position paper, the German Olympic Sports Confederation presented a suitable basis for concrete implementation, which is a suitable benchmark.
“It was important to us that we find a way back into work, a perspective that can finally start again in sports. There is a very broad consensus among the sports ministers, ”emphasized Hamburg’s Minister for Sports Andy Grote (SPD).
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