Government bail out for historic Schalke

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 30, 2020
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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, June 30 (Xinhua) -- FC Schalke 04 stands for another worrying example of a traditional club struggling in Germany. The COVID-19 outbreak has increased the economic difficulties for several of the country's footballing dinosaurs. But structural issues seem to be the real cause.

After once-famous sides like Hamburger SV, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, 1860 Munich, Rot-Weiss Essen, and 1. FC Nuremberg have now disappeared from the Bundesliga stage, the Royal Blues seem to be going the same way.

Huge debts and overly ambitious expectations are coupled with a fatal dependency on a single investor.

Relegation and missing out on the TV income that comes with top tier football, or failing to qualify for international competitions and the honey pots that accompany them often triggers an inexorable downward spiral.

A salary cap and a cut in agents' fees are said to be a possible solution. League association CEO Christian Seifert demanded a change of European work laws to allow the Bundesliga to limit payments for some of the football protagonists.

European associations and UEFA are waiting for signs from politics, Seifert added.

Schalke's crisis seems to have reached a climax as reports speak of the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia granting the club a loan of 30 to 40 million euros.

Burdened with a debt of 197 million euros, there seems no other suitable rescue strategy for the suffering side from the Ruhr district. Plans remain highly criticized. If the worst comes to the worst, taxpayers will be forced to cover 80 percent of the debt.

Supporters of the plan claim the move is the only way to allow Schalke any chance of survival. Critics reject the measure to give the 160,000-member club any state funding.

Schalke announced that the club would only sign new players in the future at a salary cap of no more than 2.5 million euros per season.

The club had paid extortionate wages and fees in the past.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, professional football procedures have been under attack by a majority of the population.

Several officials, such as Moenchengladbach's managing director Max Eberl said the criticism must be a reason to rethink long-established procedures.

Currently, the successful examples of the newly promoted Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld and the 1. FC Heidenheim who will face Werder Bremen in two relegation playoffs counts as efficient showpieces.

Having escaped bankruptcy, Bielefeld followed Heidenheim's strategy to count on a wide range of local sponsors. The so-called East-Westphalia alliance, containing several regional companies, claims none of the involved firms intend to gain a share majority.

The alliance bought the clubs arena to revitalize options for the struggling side but is promising to keep out of sportive decisions.

Heidenheim has for several years counted on 500 different regional sponsors.

Both clubs, however, won't most likely ever be able to compete for a major title. They claim to have instead dedicated themselves to football's fundamental values such as team-spirit and an enchanting way to celebrate the sport on a lower level.

Nevertheless, Heidenheim and Bielefeld seem to address the fans' desire for a romantic note of football.

Exactly that seems to be one of Schalke's fundamental problems, like for all the other long-established clubs. Receiving a loan in difficult economic times feels like a slap in the face for many supporters in the underdeveloped region.

The state government claims however to have granted loans for several clubs. Enditem

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