VIEW FROM GERMANY: Bundesliga clubs will have to nail their colours to the mast after distancing themselves from European Super League plans… Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have more to lose with fan power at the heart of their culture
- German clubs have distanced themselves from plans for a Super League
- Supporter interests are more fiercly defended in the Bundesliga than elsewhere
- Borussia Dortmund released a statement backing the ECA’s rejection of the plan
- Bayern Munich and Red Bull Leipzig could be more tempted to join the league
Proposals for a European Super League have been met with predictable outrage in Germany, as Bundesliga clubs appeared to distance themselves from the breakaway league.
In a league where supporter interests are more fiercely and effectively defended than almost anywhere else in Europe, the reaction came as little surprise.
In a statement on Sunday night, league chairman Christian Seifert warned that the project could do ‘irreparable damage’ to European football.
Bundesliga clubs appeared to distance themselves from the breakaway Super League
‘Economic interest of a few top clubs in England, Italy and Spain should not lead to the abolishment of established structures in European football as a consequence,’ he said.
‘It would be irresponsible to irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football.’
The German FA (DFB) issued a similar condemnation, with a thinly veiled warning to Bundesliga clubs not to join the rebel league.
‘Every club will have to decide if it wants to remain part of the solidarity of football as a whole or pursue entirely selfish interests outside of UEFA and the national federations,’ the association said.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has previously said he would never support the idea
In truth, there would only be three German clubs who would even come into contention for a place in the Super League, one of which has already announced fundamental opposition to the idea.
In a statement on Monday, Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said that the European Clubs’ Association had agreed to reject the Super League plans.
He said that the ECA board had agreed to go ahead with the reform of the Champions League, and expressed ‘a clear opinion rejecting the foundation of a Super League’.
He added that both Dortmund and Bayern had taken the ‘100 percent’ the same position.
Both of Germany’s biggest clubs have previously been sceptical about the idea of a Super League.
‘I would never support a competition which does not have open access,’ said Watzke in an interview with regional newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten last month.
The Bundesliga clubs have more to lose with fan power still influential in German football
Dortmund rely on heavily on their regional identity and passionate local fanbase
‘A closed society like the American NFL, NHL or NBA is not our football. As far as I’m concerned, it cannot happen,’ he added.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been similarly dismissive of late, arguing that it was something he could ‘never imagine’.
‘It would shake the foundations of European football. I don’t think that it would be right,’ he said in April.
Yet Bayern have so far retained a stony and somewhat ominous silence since Sunday’s announcement.
For Dortmund, who rely heavily on their regional identity and passionate local fanbase, actively joining the elite would be dangerous. It would risk entirely alienating their stadium-going fans, leaving the famous Yellow Wall a shadow of its former self and robbing the club of its biggest selling point.
Bayern and RB Leipzig may have been more tempted. The Bavarians already command an international fanbase to rival that of United or Liverpool, and Red-Bull-backed Leipzig are, by definition, less rooted by the traditions of European football.
Yet even they may be waiting for the dust to settle before committing to the project or not. With fan power still a factor in German football, they have more to lose than their English or Spanish counterparts.
Red Bull Leipzig may be more tempeted by the propsals due to their less traditional roots
‘Clubs like Bayern and Dortmund know what thin ice they are on. Clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United have long since become more shameless,’ wrote Der Spiegel magazine.
Yet the German press are also convinced that one way or another, the big Bundesliga clubs will have to nail their colours to the mast.
‘The genie will not be forced back into the bottle. The Super League will come, football is sure of that. The only question is when it will come, and what form it will take,’ wrote Die Zeit newspaper.