DUSSELDORF, Germany — Four German soccer clubs have pledged a combined $21.9 million to support other teams struggling to stay afloat after games in the country were suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forgo $13.7 million in as-yet undistributed TV money and add another $8.2 million from their own funds. All four clubs played in the Champions League this season, giving them extra income.
The German Football League, which oversees the top two divisions, will decide how the money is distributed. The league has previously said it fears many clubs could face financial collapse if games can’t resume.
“In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said on Thursday.
It’s the latest in a string of gestures to help those in need in German soccer. Players at clubs including Bayern, Borussia Monchengladbach and second-tier Karlsruhe have agreed to voluntary pay cuts to help other staff.
[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said clubs had a responsibility to keep other teams running in what could be a long period without income from ticket sales and sponsors.
“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” Watzke said in a statement.
“BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”
The four Bundesliga clubs who qualified for the UEFA Champions League this season have donated over $22 million to help clubs struggling across Germany’s top two divisions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig have each donated $5.5 million to help clubs in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga impacted by the league suspension in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany and across Europe.
How the ‘solidarity payment’ — which consists of the four wealthiest clubs in Germany foregoing their combined share of undistributed broadcast revenue of $13.6 million plus $8.2 million of their own cash — will be distributed will be decided by the DFL Presidium.
“The aim of the campaign is to provide financial support for hardship cases triggered by the corona crisis. We have always said that we will show solidarity if clubs are at fault because of this exceptional situation, which they can no longer manage alone.”
Christian Seifert, spokesman of the DFL Presidium, added: “This campaign underlines that solidarity in the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga is not a lip service. The DFL Presidium is very grateful to the four Champions League participants in terms of the community of all clubs.”
Latest coronavirus connections to soccer:
The Bundesliga’s four Champions League qualifiers are acting in the interest of the rest of the league given the financial unease caused by the coronavirus.
Bild reports that Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, and RB Leipzig met last week and hatched a plan to distribute their UCL winnings through Germany’s top flight.
The four clubs would add around $8 million to the approximate $14 million earned from making the UCL to form a “solidarity pot” which would be distributed equally through the league.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
According to the report, the German league has around $48 million in a separate reserve which was going to be allocated to “possible strategic projects” but could be divvied up to clubs as if it was television broadcast money.
A separate report from the BBC says Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund players will forego some of their wages to help their clubs.
Bayern will forego 20 percent while BVB’s number was not disclosed. Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski and his wife previously announced a $1 million-plus donation to fight COVID-19.
Union Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach players had previously announced they would forego their wages for workers at the club.
Leroy Sane has returned to the soccer pitch in his bid to recover from an injury suffered in August.
Whether the Manchester City star’s next game is for the Premier League outfit is another story.
German outlet Bild says Sane has already decided that he wants to go back to Germany, where he’ll join summer courters Bayern Munich.
[ MORE: Zlatan to Everton? ]
The 23-year-old was arguably City’s best player in their record run to the title in 2017/18, but last season was a step back for him.
Bild also says that Manchester City and Manchester United have engaged in “concrete talks” with representatives for Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz.
He’s likely wanted by every team on the planet and has also been linked to Liverpool, but it’s notable that the Mancunian rivals are in the news.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur may be entering the transfer market in January despite Daniel Levy’s claims that he doesn’t expect much.
Reports out of Belgium say Spurs will chase Leicester City full back Ricardo Pereira, with the trickle down forcing the Foxes to turn southeast.
Twenty-year old Aurelio Buta would make the move from Royal Antwerp to Leicester. Buta has a goal and five assists in 18 league outings this season.
The move, of course, could still wait for the summer.
Chelsea won’t have to worry about financial constraints this January as it looks to improve its squad.
According to the Telegraph, Chelsea will have as much as $200 million to spend, after the team saved on not spending last summer during its 2019 summer transfer ban. The report states Chelsea has its sights on a number of players, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jaden Sancho and RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, though it’s doubtful that both teams, also competing in the UEFA Champions League, will let them leave in January.
[READ: Chelsea has transfer ban reduced]
However, the report states that Chelsea believes Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze could be available to sign. Bailey has four goals and three assists with Leverkusen this year, and Chukwueze has six goals and two assists for Villarreal, all in multiple competitions.
Both players are wingers, which would put pressure on Christian Pulisic, along with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Pedro, and Willian. Ultimately, Chelsea’s attack needs to do better at breaking down defenses, something that manager Frank Lampard has lamented, with the team having lost four of its last five matches.
Interestingly, about Pedro, the report states he could be off to MLS this offseason, though the rumor is so vague that it remains to be seen.