Oliver Kahn is seriously being considered for a position in the DFL (Deutsche Fussball Liga) Exectuvie Board with the elections set to take place this summer. Donata Hopfen stepped down as the organization’s CEO towards the end of last year and was replaced on an interim basis by Axel Hellmann, CEO of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt, and Oliver Leki, CFO of SC Freiburg.
Last summer, Kahn had struck a tone that seemed to suggest that he was solely focused on his duties as Bayern Munich CEO despite backing from both Bayern president Herbert Hainer and Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke to take on a role on the DFL’s executive board. Kahn can offer insight where and when needed without over-bearing any of the other representatives to ensure decisions are made for the best of the entire DFL and not just the teams at the top of the Bundesliga, but there’s a fear from some of the smaller clubs that there would be a level of favoritism towards the German teams involved in European competition.
Per a new report from Sport Bild (via @iMiaSanMia), the majority of the medium to smaller-sized clubs in the Bundesliga and all of the DFL’s leagues are heavily concerned that a potential Kahn appointment to the DFL would mean that the distribution of money would heavily favor the clubs competing in Europe. Not to mention, there are still clubs in Germany that are feeling the negative financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic as they rely more heavily on gate receipts, television broadcast money, and matchday-related revenue streams.
Kahn’s position of vice chairman on the European Club Association executive board is a point of contention for a lot of the clubs that are worried what his potential role on the DFL executive board would do to them financially. They have every right to be concerned, but from Bayern’s perspective, the board is trying to be proactive in helping to close the financial gap with England’s Premier League and the Bundesliga - they want German teams to stay relevant in the European sphere.
Kahn is the quintessential candidate to help spearhead those efforts, but the collateral damage for some of Germany’s smaller clubs would come at a cost, quite literally. It’s hard to see a scenario where all of Germany’s clubs are bolstered by trying to bridge what’s already a significant financial gap with the Premier League market.
Kahn himself recently said that he was open to taking a seat on the DFL executive board, too, slightly changing his tone from last summer. “If the representatives of Bundesliga clubs want that, then I’m ready. FC Bayern is interested in a strong league. Without a strong league, FC Bayern would also lose ground,” he stated. This is a clear indication he’d step in if called upon, as there’s clearly enough clamor and desire for him to do so.
Last summer, he felt that he could offer enough support and consultancy for the DFL without holding a direct seat in the organization, despite the outside calls backing him to assume an executive board role. Now, there doesn’t seem to be as much hesitation from Bayern’s CEO as there’s a consensus among the big-club bosses in Germany that he’s a more than ideal candidate.