Soccer professionals cut salaries? Because of a virus? Just five or six days ago, Borussia Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke considered it “rather unlikely” that players and above all their advisors would agree. But the learning curves are often just as exponential as the graphs for new infections and the shocking death rates. On Tuesday afternoon, BVB announced almost subtly that all the Bundesliga 2 professionals have agreed to waive their salary significantly. Similar reports come from FC Bayern, Borussia Mönchengladbach or Schalke 04. National goalkeeper Manuel Neuer describes the – estimated – 20 percent solo contribution of the Munich professionals as “a matter of course”.
In Dortmund, they are officially silent about how high the professionals’ waiver is. The BVB only communicated that this could result in a “double-digit million sum”. The club does not deny that players linearly waive 20 percent of their salaries if they are not playing and 10 percent if there are so-called “ghost games” in which no audience is allowed in the stadium and thus all direct audience revenue is lost. BVB is listed on the stock exchange with its “limited partnership on shares” and therefore has to publish its personnel expenses, in contrast to all other Bundesliga teams. But later, in his annual balance sheet.
At the moment, BVB is likely to have a salary volume of over 150 million euros, not least because of the high-paid winter additions Emre Can (from Juventus Turin) and Erling Haaland (from RB Salzburg). Top earners such as Mats Hummels and Julian Brandt also signed in summer 2019. Even professionals like Marco Reus or Mario Götze are valued in the region at an annual salary of ten million euros. BVB has a total of 850 employees, including mostly regular earners and part-time employees. All together, the club shouldn’t cost much more than 20 million euros a year in salaries, about the same as two professional top stars. It is therefore clear where the greatest savings potential lies in Europe’s top professional clubs.
Mood does not allow special rights for football millionaires
The fact that Watzke’s pessimism was not right may be due to the fact that most professionals are following the news. Nevertheless, you can hear that the players were also informed about the general corona situation. Players from other home countries were advised not to leave Germany and Dortmund under any circumstances, because the medical situation here was drastically better than, for example, in France, Spain or Great Britain. No professional is said to have had any significant resistance to the waiver of salary. As you can hear, most of them would not have been represented by their advisors, but would have decided for themselves.
The decisive factor in Dortmund should also be that all five solvent leagues in Europe are closed to the same extent by the political framework guidelines of the governments. There are currently no threats to move abroad quickly and possibly free of charge, or to another Bundesliga club, as players’ advisors would otherwise have put it quickly. Even in England, where the Premier League, with its utopian television money and thanks to its external donors, the sheiks, oil magnates, or hedge funds, can usually drive salaries and transfers, it has learned bitterly that the mood of the nation has no special rights for football Millionaires allowed more. Not to mention Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga. In their countries, pulling through professional football should only be perceived as tasteless, given the catastrophe in clinics and nursing homes and the number of 500, 600, 800 deaths per day there.