clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Bundesliga rules out matches abroad

New, comments

The Bundesliga will not follow in La Liga’s controversial footsteps by scheduling regular league matches outside of Germany.

2018 DFL New Year Reception
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 16: DFL CEO Christian Seifert holds a speech during the 2018 DFL New Year Reception at Thurn & Taxis Palais on January 16, 2018 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
2018 DFL New Year Reception FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 16: DFL CEO Christian Seifert holds a speech during the 2018 DFL New Year Reception at Thurn & Taxis Palais on January 16, 2018 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
(Photo by Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

La Liga’s recent decision to play league matches overseas this season has received mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike. While official dates have not yet been set for La Liga fixtures in the United States, the Bundesliga has already affirmed that will not entertain the idea of playing league matches outside of Germany.

Speaking at the annual Football Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, earlier this week, DFL president Christian Seifert guaranteed that the Bundesliga would not play any competitive matches abroad. Doing so, according to Seifert, would be a huge show of disrespect (via DW):

We will never play a competitive game outside Germany. Playing an official, competitive match abroad, where points are at stake and where participation in international competition or relegation or promotion could be decided, would be a huge show of disrespect towards fans and players. I don’t think anything of the idea.

The most recent round of the DFB-Pokal witnessed several choreographed protests aimed towards the DFB and DFL, as fans promised that protests would continue throughout the season. Fans in Germany have grown increasingly frustrated with the DFB and DFL’s reluctance to engage in open discussion of issues. Concerns within the fan groups have peaked for several reasons: the introduction of Monday night fixtures in the Bundesliga, a new set of rules and restrictions on fans set by the DFB, the threat of greater police presence at matches, and changes to the promotion system in Germany’s five regional fourth divisions.

There is a feeling among the fan base that the DFL has been trying to cater to international television audiences more than actual fans in Germany, and Seifert admitted that it is tough to strike a balance. On one hand, not having matches abroad is, in a sense, a show of faith to the Bundesliga fans; on the other, the DFL is also always open to new marketing and merchandising opportunities overseas to help promote the brand of German football.

The DFL continues to embrace digitalization. It would be naïve to think that ten-year-old boys and girls will still be sat in front of their screens in fifteen years’ time watching a nerve-racking 0-0 draw. That won’t be the case and we have to deal with that.

While the strife between Germans fans and the DFL/DFB may be long from over, the DFL’s decision to not play any of its competitive matches overseas was perhaps a step in the right direction in terms of prioritizing the fans over commercial opportunity.