The Bundesliga being able to restart this weekend could not have been possible without the diligent, proactive decision making in Germany. After careful review, Angela Merkel approved the DFL’s plan to continue the remaining Bundesliga fixtures in a truncated schedule with Geisterspiele (ghost games) and strict health and safety guidelines in place. Coronavirus cases have been spiking in certain German states as some restrictions have been lifted, but the DFL still plans on resuming the Bundesliga this weekend, for which Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is grateful for.
In a recent interview with SportBild, Rummenigge expressed his gratitude for the German politicians for making the resumption of matches possible: “We have to thank the politicians in a double sense: first for slowing the spread of the coronavirus so dramatically with their careful measures, so that we now have the preconditions for restarting the league. And second, for their careful review of the DFL’s plan and their permission to play again based on it.”
For most people around the world, life has been anything but normal since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Adjusting to the new normal has been increasingly difficult for everyone across the world, and for football fans, we’ve been starved of what we love the most. With Bundesliga matches resuming this weekend, at least a shred of normalcy will be returning for football fans. Rummenigge referenced what Markus Söder said when explaining how matches will help people’s spirits: “Football is not systemically essential. We cannot claim that. There is much truth, however, for many people in the statement made by minister-president Markus Söder: ‘A weekend with football is far more bearable than one without it.’ And if the Bundesliga is the only league around the world broadcast on television, then I presume that we will have an audience in the billions the world over.”
All eyes in the footballing world we be on the Bundesliga come this weekend. It’s the first major sporting league in the world to resume competitive action and football fans will be tuning in to get their fix. Of course, the pandemic has taken its financial toll on the German leagues due to the loss of television broadcast money, and Rummenigge was particularly critical of Eurosport canceling their contract with the DFL. Eurosport had assigned coverage for Friday night Bundesliga matches to streaming service DAZN through a sub-license, which began during the 2017/2018 season. Eurosport has to pay the DFL 80-million Euros each year, and normally gets 40-million from DAZN, but during the pandemic, all media partners have stopped making payments due to no matches being played. This is the main reason why Eurosport terminated their contract with the DFL, but they still owe a large sum of money to the Bundesliga for this season.
Rummenigge feels that Eurosport was in the wrong: “I regret Eurosport’s behavior very much. Yes. I think it’s indecent to cancel a contract in a contract. And I think that it will hurt Eurosport’s image very much. Who will become partners with such a broadcaster in the future?”