Gelsenkirchen. A thundering bang in the afternoon at Schalke 04 marked the end of an era of megalomania and the departure into the unknown. The once almighty patriarch and club leader Clemens Tönnies resigned from office with the Royal Blues with immediate effect. One week after the farewell to financial boss Peter Peters, the Bundesliga club, which is indebted to both ears, is no longer what it was before.
Tönnies (64), severely struck by racist statements and the scandal about working conditions in his corona-contaminated meat factory, is bending under the massive pressure, especially of the ultra-scene. Anti-Tönnies posters were posted all over the city and on the club premises – with the summarized message: The billionaire entrepreneur, who has been a formative figure at Schalke for decades, should go to hell.
The club, however, adopted Tönnies with warm words. “As a member and chairman of the supervisory board, Clemens Tönnies has played a decisive role in Schalke 04 establishing itself as one of the sporting and economic heavyweights in the Bundesliga over the past 26 years,” said board members Alexander Jobst and Jochen Schneider. “We know how difficult it was for him to make this decision. He deserves the utmost respect for that. «
Tönnies has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board since 2001, and he has been on Schalke boards since 1994. However, the chronically tight squires are only an economic heavyweight when it comes to debt: The 2019 consolidated financial statements showed liabilities of 197.9 million euros – and that without negative corona effects.
That’s why Schalke had made the headlines earlier Tuesday. According to the Handelsblatt, the association uses a 40 million euro default guarantee from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to secure a loan that is vital for the traditional club to survive. The number one archrival Borussia Dortmund, one number larger, recently put the pandemic-related losses at 45 million euros, which could explain the amount of the desired S04 guarantee.
“There is guaranteed to be no Lex Schalke 04,” assured NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet at the Düsseldorf state press conference. Every guarantee is “checked according to strict criteria”. It was initially unclear whether Tönnies’ resignation was a condition.
Laschet left all media reports unconfirmed with reference to the prescribed confidentiality. “There is no decision on any guarantee issue,” the problem is anyway: “I shouldn’t even confirm that an application exists.”
The NRW Ministry of Finance had also said on SID request that information was not possible. Schalke did not want to comment, the precarious financial situation will be discussed at a press conference on Wednesday. However, the topic of tonnies and the successor will now dominate there, because according to the association’s information it is open. A vacuum of power is created.
There is no alternative to the personnel change from Champions League dreams to tough tough austerity. In April Jobst already spoke of a “potentially existential” situation, Schalke wrote a loss of 26.1 million euros in 2018/19. The guarantee could secure the existence of the association. “This is not honorary, knowing that the people’s soul feels differently,” said BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke on Tuesday. A shit storm was already brewing on the Internet.
Each home game without a spectator costs Schalke two million euros, plus there are reduced revenues in the areas of advertising / marketing. In addition, hardly any large sums will be generated on the slumped transfer market.
But the Schalke have already taken countermeasures. According to SZ, the club is the first Bundesliga club to introduce an annual salary cap for players of 2.5 million euros. Schalke is all about it – abruptly now without Clemens Tönnies. The series of 16 Bundesliga games without a win, unique in club history, is currently the least of the problems. SID/nd