Vol. 4 Num 218 Mon. January 05, 2004  

German FA's grim facts

The strained financial position of many Bundesliga clubs could result in a German club going out of business, German Football Association (DFB) president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder said on Sunday.

Speaking on German radio, he said the experience in Spain and Italy had shown that the collapse of a Bundesliga club was "quite possible," according to a text extract released by Deutschlandfunk radio.

He said the German Football League (DFL) was currently discussing a solidarity fund to help bail out clubs in trouble but he showed little optimism that the talks would bear fruit.

"I don't think solidarity goes that far because the tangle of private interests and the general good of the league tends more towards the individual interests of the clubs," he said.

German clubs are still reeling after the collapse of the Kirch media empire in 2002, which deprived them of millions of euros in lost television revenues, leaving many clubs deep in debt.

Most have had to forego expensive transfers and several have had to take drastic measures including salary cuts, to avoid collapse.

Mayer-Vorfelder said the times of ever-rising TV revenues was past but he was optimistic a row between the DFL and Swiss rights trader Infront over marketing rights for the Bundesliga could be settled in a way that left clubs better off.