KAISERSLAUTERN – “This week, important decisions will be made as to what will happen to the first three professional leagues in Germany,” announced DFB President Fritz Keller in the current issue of “kicker”. Sounds good, but can the football supporter now really expect a final decision as to whether the current seasons will be completed or canceled without an audience? After all, one thing is clear: there will be no decision for the third division that will satisfy all clubs, as further threats and possibly legal actions are imminent. Soeren Oliver Voigt, Managing Director of 1. FC Kaiserslautern does not want to take part in the debate, which has long been public. You can understand that, but you don’t have to.
Games with an audience are no longer possible anyway
What opinion does Voigt represent internally? At least the FCK is not on the list of eight clubs that voted for a season break last Friday. Already on Maundy Thursday, a 13: 7 majority at a video conference of the 20 club representatives is said to have voted for the continuation of the 2019/2020 season – possibly with “ghost games”. Games with an audience are no longer possible until August 31, according to a statement by the federal government last week. Leading virologists already recommend canceling major events by the end of the year.
“No relegation”, the last-placed plead – who’s wondering?
The five Bavarian third division teams and FC Hansa Rostock have clearly spoken out in favor of continuing the league games. If you take a closer look at both lists, there is a strong suspicion that almost everyone who likes them is primarily guided by selfish interests.
The supporters of the demolition also advocate that the current table, i.e. after the last played day 27, should be declared the final one, but there should only be promoted players, but no relegated players. And, what a coincidence: the demolition without relegation is supported by the four teams currently on the relegation places – Jena, Grossaspach, Munster and Zwickau – as well as the relegation-threatened Halle and Magdeburg, which were placed immediately in front of them.
Those still hoping want to continue playing – no wonder either
Even the tables-13. from Chemnitz is only two points above the line, but still one rank ahead of the FCK, which does not want to take a public position. SV Waldhof Mannheim, on the other hand, is likely to move up into the second division as the current table runner-up – and, what a miracle, also votes for the immediate termination.
The advocates of the continuation, on the other hand, include, without exception, clubs that currently do not have any direct promotion places, but still have good prospects of climbing one: Unterhaching, Ingolstadt, 1860 Munich, Würzburg, also FC Bayern II, for which the placement in the final table could of course only play a subordinate role.
Are there any objective reasons?
The question is therefore: Are there any objective reasons that can be weighed up in this question? This in turn basically boils down to: What is the economically lesser evil – ghost games or no games at all?
“When we return to gaming operations, we get out of short-time work and would have to bear the full personnel costs, but at the same time we would not have any relevant income that would conflict with this,” explains Tobias Leege, spokesman for the FSV Zwickau, who was one of the first decision-makers in the third division positioned themselves clearly for a demolition. The FSV puts the proceeds from ticket sales that were lost when the remaining home games were played without an audience at 540,000 euros.
FCK loses a seven-digit amount due to failures
It should be noted, however, that Zwickau has welcomed an average of 5,572 spectators to its home games this season. 1. FC Kaiserslautern, in turn, currently has an average of 19,269 spectators, making it still the best-attended third division club in this sporty season. The losses are therefore likely to be higher correspondingly higher.
“With ghost games, we can at least fulfill the TV and advertising contracts,” say the supporters of games without an audience. It is obvious that this argument weighs heavily in the first and second leagues. The clubs have long earned more from TV broadcasting rights than from fans who make a pilgrimage to the stadium.
In the third division, however, it is different: There is a rounded figure of 1.2 million euros from the TV pot for each club, for the entire season. Divided by 19 home games, around 63,000 euros flow into the coffers per game. They are unlikely to cover the personnel and infrastructure costs for a home game.
Ghost games should pay off better for the fewest
What, on the other hand, is lost in advertising and sponsorship money in the event of a cancellation, which could be taken when playing a game? However, this can hardly be quantified without viewing the various contracts and could, in fact, differ from club to club. However, “ghost games” are likely to pay off much better, especially if the effects of short-time working are taken into account, which various clubs, including the FCK, are already using.
The security effort involved in organizing a ghost game in Corona times also represents a cost factor that the advocates have hardly considered up to now. The players would have to be barracked days in advance and tested again and again for viruses before and after each game.
In the Bundesliga millionaire game, something like this can perhaps be guaranteed without people who need such tests more urgently than professional athletes, who are robust themselves, being left behind. Fredi Bobic, sports director of Eintracht Frankfurt, announces in the current “kicker” that the DFL is presenting a “package” this week, according to which top German football has found “creative ways” that “have nothing to do with the special treatment of football. “
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