Over the weekend, it has come out that Bayern Munich is foregoing the salaries of their unvaccinated players while they have to quarantine. They will not be paid at all for days that they are unable to train or play with the team due to coronavirus-related quarantine measures. Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Jamal Musiala and Mickael Cuisance were ousted as Bayern’s quintet of unvaccinated players over the weekend, causing a great deal of controversy, though it was already known some of them were unvaccinated due to the quarantine required for a handful of players on the German National team because of Niklas Sule’s positive case.
Speaking on Sky90 on Sunday, former Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he understood the rationale for the club making the decision to cut salaries for the unvaccinated players (Tz). He said, “if what the Bild-Zeitung reports is correct, it is certainly also to be understood as a sign that the club is now reacting.” The decision from Bayern was made clear to the affected players over the weekend and it’s been reported that said players were not pleased with the lack of support from the club over the matter. They probably expected more privacy regarding the issue, not anticipating that it would leak to the public.
From a financial standpoint, Rummenigge also stressed the losses that Bayern will be hit with in recent weeks as a result of tightened restrictions returning and Bavaria, and most of Germany, for that matter. The Allianz Arena will now only be able to host 19,000 supporters (25% capacity) because of the heightened infection rate in Bavaria. As a result, Bayern will lose a fair amount of revenue from the match day experience alone. “The next game you can only play with 25 percent audience capacity. 75,000 will then become around 19,000. That is also a major economic loss for FC Bayern,” Rummenigge explained.
Because the news of the restrictions came out prior to the salary issue for unvaccinated players at Bayern, there’s a suggestion that this is perhaps another action taken by the club to mitigate their financial losses for however long the tighter restrictions last for. It’s certainly also now an incredible incentive for those players to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, though it’s unclear at this point whether or not they will be swayed. For Kimmich, he had expressed his concerns regarding a lack of long-term studies for the vaccines, but none of the other four players have really publicly addressed their reasoning. From a public health standpoint, it still feels like more of an incentive from Bayern to have those players get vaccinated, but it will also save money when the quarantine situations do occur.
For Kimmich alone, a week’s quarantine would mean the club foregoes paying him upwards of 384,000 euros. While the club saves that amount of money during at least a week’s worth of quarantine, per Bild (as transcribed by @iMiaSanMia) Bayern’s bosses have still said they have a right to choose not to get the vaccines.
The unvaccinated players were told to not only think about themselves, but also about the club. The bosses emphasized that it was of course their right not to be vaccinated - but it was then also the right of the employer to withhold the salary in case of quarantine [Bild]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 20, 2021
“He won’t like that,” Rummenigge said of Kimmich not getting paid during his required quarantine period. He said he’s a player that’s currently “stigmatized to a certain extent.” With the concerns that Kimmich has about long-term data regarding the vaccines, Rummenigge suggested that there’s perhaps more that could be done from top medical professionals in Germany to try to help Kimmich understand some of the questions he might have. “If a footballer like him has concerns about vaccinating, then it is up to the responsible politicians and scientists to dispel these concerns. After all, they share 32 percent in our country,” he said.
Everyone has an opinion on the subject of vaccinations against coronavirus, and everyone has their own choice to make, with or without consequences. However, one thing is clear, as was highlighted in Bayern’s 2-1 defeat to FC Augsburg on Friday: they need Kimmich on the pitch. Off-field issues aside, he is what makes Bayern’s midfield tick and if quarantine situations keep arising more frequently for him, Bayern will collectively suffer.
It is increasingly difficult not to address the elephant in the room, though, and it’s clearly become somewhat of a distraction at the club, even it’s been exaggerated and conflated in the press. “It’s a debate that is slowly becoming annoying for the club. Everyone has tried to clear up the non-vaccination issue or to find a solution. That has not been successful so far. Corona occupies the whole club and the team,” Rummenigge explained.