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DFL spells out implications of reduced Bundesliga attendance

Christian Seifert, chief executive of the German Football League (DFL), has warned that the Bundesliga’s turnover will drop by as much as €1bn (£909m/$1.2bn) this season if fans are unable to return to stadiums.

Although the Bundesliga season began with a limited number of fans in stadiums, matches have been held behind closed doors since October following a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Clubs had been allowed to open their stadiums at 20 per cent capacity, providing local infection numbers were low and the relevant hygiene processes had been approved. It remains to be seen when fans will be able to return in Germany and Seifert has spelled out the potential impact empty stadiums will have on revenues.

“The overall loss of fans for the entire season will be about €650m compared to 2018-19,” said Seifert, who added that another €250m would be lost on money spent on Bundesliga players during the transfer market.

Seifert said the total turnover for the 2020-21 campaign would amount to “a loss of one billion (euros) or about 20 per cent”.

Seifert said that the 2019-20 season, which was paused in March due to COVID-19 before being concluded behind closed doors, saw turnover drop by around six per cent, or €250m. Seifert said this would seem like a “gentle breeze” compared to the losses anticipated in the 2020-21 season.

Borussia Dortmund recorded the highest attendance of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season so far when 11,500 fans watched its 4-0 win over SC Freiburg in early October. A number of other teams also welcomed fans to their stadiums but champion Bayern Munich played all of its home games behind closed doors.

Seifert was speaking after the DFL provided details of a new model for distributing broadcast rights revenue among clubs in the top two tiers from the 2021-22 season onwards. The new model runs until 2024-25 and focuses on four ‘pillars’ – equal distribution, performance, young talent and club interest.

Image: Валерий Дед/CC BY 3.0/Edited for size