The coronavirus pandemic has heightened the scrutiny in the Bundesliga towards the distribution of television money throughout the league. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dormtund receive significantly more than all of the other clubs in the DFL, but much like all of the other clubs since the outbreak of the pandemic, they’re not impervious to financial losses, especially when it comes to gate receipts. Other clubs have voiced their concern, suggesting both Bayern and Dortmund should be requried to redistribute some of their wealth from television revenue, but Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke doesn’t exactly agree with that sentiment that’s been pushed by VfB Stuttgart and Augsburg in particular.
Giving some of the smaller clubs television revenue from the bigger clubs like Bayern and Dortmund isn’t exactly something Watzke feels would help a great deal. “That’s not a viable way. If you take 50 million euros away from one club and distribute the money among the 35 other clubs, you’re not increasing the likelihood that one of the beneficiaries will become champion,” he said in a recent interview with Spiegel (via tz). From the outside, his stance could be viewed as heavily biased since he’s CEO of Dortmund, but he also works for the DFL as chairman of the supervisory board, so he has the necessary perspective to know what would and wouldn’t work for Germany’s leagues.
To solve some of the financial gaps, Watzke said the DFL would benefit from “someone pulling the irons out of the fire for Germany internationally.” He doesn’t feel that a club like Bayern, for example, should be punished for creating the revenue they get just “because it did many things right for 50 years.” He continued by saying, “with coercive measures and socialism, this imbalance cannot be corrected,” and that redistributing hard earned financed would equate to “taking something away from a club that is its due.”
Watzke also took issue with the fact that virtually no spectators are allowed at any grounds in the Bundesliga with current coronavirus restrictions that are in effect. Especially at larger venues like Signal Iduna Park, Watzke feels that there are easy ways to allow portions of spectators inside without running any sort of real risk for those that would choose to attend. Most grounds had used the chessboard style of strategic seating in the past to space out entry points and areas where spectators sat. Just before restrictions became more strict, Dortmund hosted 15,000 fans for der Klassiker against Bayern.
“The right thing would have been to allow a percentage of the stadium capacity. 8,000 spectators can be distributed in Signal Iduna Park, and with our infrastructure in such a way that they have virtually nothing to do with each other physically. Football can’t hold out for long with such ghost matches. That will kill off an entire industry,” Watzke urged.