Rummenigge spoke first at today’s explosive press conference featuring himself, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, and Uli Hoeness. Rummenigge declared that the purpose of the conference was to address malicious negative reporting about Bayern Munich’s players.
Germany and Manuel Neuer
Rummenigge explained that it was after the negative press coverage of Germany’s disappointing match against the Netherlands that led Bayern’s front office to their decision to address the press:
We got together — Uli, Hasan and I — after we learned about [Germany’s] match against the Netherlands and the way it was being discussed, and simply decided that we will not accept this style [of journalism] any longer.
I think what we are forced to read there has nothing to do with the critique of one’s performance, but rather was nothing more than revenge on individual players...and of course players for Bayern Munich.
In particular, Rummenigge vehemently defended Manuel Neuer, whose recent performances have drawn criticism:
What I have had to read about Manuel Neuer honestly leaves me totally speechless. I would like to remind you that Manuel was FIFA World Goalkeeper of the year four times in a row... I believe, without any exaggeration, that what Manuel has accomplished not just in the past few years but in the way he has recreated the game — there can be no question.
Boundless polemic — even from former players
Rummenigge likewise defended center-backs Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels, who were labeled as proponents of “geriatric soccer” by the press, as well as the contract extension of Franck Ribery. Rummenigge took aim in particular at the harshness of the criticism, and singled out former players — likely club ambassador Lothar Matthäus, former goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, and Stefan Effenberg:
It obviously seems to be the case that no one thinks at all anymore about values like dignity and decency. Polemic seems to observe no bounds anymore. That applies to the media, that applies to experts, and that applies especially to experts who once played soccer at this club.
Rummenigge further defended Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery:
These two guys have worked for a decade to make FC Bayern a very radiant and bright star in the firmament today in the soccer world. And in this connection I’d like to recall the fact that these two have won everything that this soccer world has to offer.
He called the debates about their age “outrageous, disrespectful, and polemical.” Rummenigge recommended that the German press cast a glance at how veteran stars are handled with respect by the Italian media, and pointed out how the German media celebrated the transfer of a 33-year-old (Ronaldo) as the biggest transfer coup of the year.
Bayern will not put up with it: legal action against Springer
After recalling everything Bayern had won during its “ongoing party” (Dauerparty) of the past six years, Rummenigge called on the media to treat Bayern Munich’s players for club and country with respect.
I think it’s an important day today for FC Bayern, because we’d like to inform you that effective immediately we will no longer put up with this. You might have lots of fun seeing Bayern no longer on top of the table, but starting today we will no longer put up with this degrading, malicious, factual reporting.
Rummenigge announced that the club will take legal action against the publisher Springer, which owns Bild and Sport Bild among other publications:
For your information, I’d like to inform you that we obtained two cease-and-desist orders against the Springer company by judicial ruling in the past few weeks. A further warning was granted yesterday. In the future, we will not stop with just cease-and-desist orders, but will also demand remonstrance.
The cases in question included false reports about Corentin Tolisso’s ACL operation and Bayern’s assessment of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
As of today, we will our protect players, our coaches, and the club.
In conclusion, Rummenigge clarified:
We are not looking to put the blame for the past four games and results, which undoubtedly were not good, on the media. He who plays poorly and loses cannot expect to be praised. But there is a difference between serious, fair reporting, that can also be critical — we don’t want to be praised when we lose. No one expects that. But we simply want to have reporting of a factual nature.