Bayern’s Rummenigge predicts how football will change after Covid-19
Spanish paper El Pais have sat down with Bayern Munich’s President Karl-Heinz Rummenigge this weekend.
Rummenigge has discussed a range of issues concerning how football is likely to change in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Es mejor jugar partidos sin espectadores que quedarnos sin fútbol”, asegura Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO del Bayern Múnich https://t.co/Rkb7cgVZic
— EL PAÍS América (@elpais_america) April 4, 2020
Rummenigge torpedoes Euro Super League talk
One of the opening topics of conversation revolved around the notion of a European Super League.
This idea has been floating around for years; a league featuring the best teams in Europe like Bayern, Juventus, Liverpool, Man City and all the other big teams.
Right now, in the current economic climate, it’s easy to understand why some may think it’s time for a Euro Super League.
Indeed, Rummenigge admitted that times have now changed, and football clubs need cash in the bank not money on paper:
Until now we have focused all our energy on raising gross income and profit figures.
I think everyone now recognizes that the most important thing is liquidity. Today cash is everything.
Not everyone in the industry has the cash to deal with such a situation because this was not predictable.
So would Rummenigge back a Euro Super League, which would likely be a cash-cow which could keep these clubs going?
In short, no.
In a potentially pivotal hammer blow to the whole Euro Super League concept, Rummenigge told El Pais:
I’m not in favor (of it).
First, because I love football, because I played at the highest possible level. Second, because I know how the public thinks.
Suppose we establish a Super League: there may be more liquidity in the system, but in the end it will be money that will go to the players and the agents.
The coronavirus can help us create a more rational world, also when it comes to football. We must correct the mistakes of the past.
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How football may change after Covid-19
Rummenigge’s main belief looking forward is that the money which has been sloshing around football for years is about to dwindle significantly.
On the next transfer market – whenever that will be – the Bayern President believes it’s going to be very tough:
It will be difficult. There will be much more supply than demand.
That will not be good for the market as a whole because the medium clubs need investments from the big ones. And I can’t imagine the big ones making a lot of investments.
In another prediction, Rummenigge believes that Neymar’s world-record transfer fee won’t be broken for years to come:
Everyone, including Bayern, has pushed too hard. We were obsessed with having more qualified teams. We were ready to shell out.
I am convinced that Neymar’s record of signing for PSG [€222 million in 2017] will take a long time to break. First, because you would have to have cash on hand and that is no longer easy. And then because those who have liquidity will not think about shopping.
While the pandemic lasts, we will be waiting: calculating what this means for our balance sheets. Everyone will focus on how to survive in these crazy times rather than bordering on the limits to invest large sums.
Belgium & playing football behind closed doors
Last week, Belgium became the first country to end its 2019-20 season.
Despite the remaining matches on the fixture list, Club Brugge were crowned Belgian champs.
Many have since speculated about the knock-on effects around Europe from the decision in Belgium.
However, Bayern’s Rummenigge doesn’t believe it’s a problem:
The situation in the Belgian league has nothing to do with the European big leagues. They only had one game left to play and the first classified had a 15 point advantage.
I am a total advocate of playing the season to the end.
So will football have to return without fans? Rummenigge thinks that’s an inevitability:
It is better to play games without spectators than to run out of football.
In Germany we have been without football for three weeks and people are getting nervous because there is no football on television.
Without fans you lose the atmosphere. But it is still football.
How long are Bayern Munich preparing for life without football?
Arguably, the most chilling question El Pais asked Rummenigge was his overall forecast for football’s return amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rummenigge admitted that Bayern have drawn up plans if there’s no football in 2020 at all:
At Bayern we have (considered the chance that football only returns in 2021). But no one expects this to be the real world.
If we don’t play football again in 2020, then we will have a very, very difficult situation to manage.
I hope football will survive if we get to that extreme.
This article was edited by Ben Green.