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German football league suffers huge losses due to pandemic

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Frankfurt, April 1 (IANS) German football league — Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 — has suffered losses to the tune of more than one billion euros since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 DFL (Deutsche Football Liga) Economic Report said on Friday.

It said that the total revenue of the league had fallen to Euro 4.05 billion in the 2020/21 season even as the clubs were paying Euro 1.3 billion in taxes and duties overall. The report added that the number of employees in the two leagues was down by 50 percent, to 26,183.

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“After the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, which were greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the downturn in revenue in German professional football already totals more than one billion euros. The total revenue of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 fell to Euro 4.05 billion in the 2020/21 season,” the report said.

One of the main reasons for the drastic drop in revenue was that most matches were played behind closed doors, with ticket sales seeing a 95 per cent slump.

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“As most matches were played behind closed doors, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2’s match revenue alone — which mainly comprises ticket sales — fell by around 95 per cent compared with the last pre-pandemic season: from roughly Euro 650 million in 2018/19 to only Euro 35.5 million last season,” the DFL report said.

German professional football remains a major taxpayer. Last season, the 36 clubs paid Euro 1.3 billion in taxes and duties to the financial authorities and social security institutions (2019/20: Euro 1.4 billion).

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The impact of the matches played behind closed doors is also evident in the number of people directly and indirectly employed in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, which has temporarily fallen by around 50 per cent to 26,183 (2019/20: 52,786).

The number of indirect employees, who usually work in stadiums on matchdays (security, catering, etc), decreased by around 80 per cent.

“Over the past two years, the pandemic has already had a dramatic economic impact on the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. Sadly, it is also affecting the current season — primarily because, once again, the stands often had to remain empty,” said Donata Hopfen, speaker of the DFL Executive Committee.

In addition, there is the increasingly uncertain geopolitical situation and the fact that the revenue from the marketing of German-language media rights for the current 2021/22 season and the revenue from international marketing are lower than a year ago.

“We are facing an unprecedented situation. The era of growth as something to be taken for granted seems to be over,” added Donata Hopfen.

“This will massively impact our development in the years to come. We must explore new avenues to make the German professional football future-proof while upholding our traditions and values.”

–IANS

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