Bundesliga News

Frankfurt Airport Summit: Rummenigge sends stern message to reform-minded clubs and DFL

By Peter Vice

Bayern boss Karl Heinz Rummennigge emerged from the special summit of select Bundesliga clubs he convened on Wednesday keen to dispel the moniker German footballing journalists had appropriated the meeting. 

"We are not the 'G-15'," Rummenigge insisted. The CEO of Germany's Bavarian footballing giant still had acerbic words for those clubs he claimed had "thrown down the gauntlet."

The 65-year-old's statements to the press afterward made one thing abundantly clear: The primary purpose behind the meeting was indeed the new revenue-sharing position paper submitted to the DFL. 

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.Photo: Michael Lucan, CC-by-SA 3.0

The controversial conference of 14 top flight clubs and one second tier Bundesliga organization adjourned on Wednesday. Meeting chair Karl Heinz Rummenigge flatly denied that the group intended to serve as a power bloc in the Bundesliga, taking care to reject the media label given to his meeting.

"We are always looking to expand this group," Rummenigge noted. In the same breath however, he explicitly referenced the 14 clubs that backed a new television revenue-sharing model.

"It is not us who have broken the solidarity pact," Rummenigge remarked rather caustically, "It is rather those four Bundesliga clubs and ten second division sides who have thrown down the gauntlet."

Rummenigge claimed that the specific topic of the revenue-sharing reform was not discussed at the summit. Instead, it would appear that the real purpose of the gathering related to a general demonstration of power. Naturally, it also accorded Rummenigge the opportunity to publicly jawbone somewhat by expressing his grievances in front of an expanded press corps.

"We must quash the instinct to send out position papers within our representative ranks," the chief executive said, referring directly to the new revenue sharing proposal, "We will not be sending out any position papers, as has regrettably transpired recently. It has always been the strength of the DFL that all 36 clubs have always pulled together." 

Rummenigge outright condemned the move by the petitioning clubs a violation of this norm. "This is not what we consider cooperation to be," he noted.

Bayern's long-time CEO confirmed that he had reached out personally to at least one of the representatives of the uninvited clubs. Rummenigge said that he called VfB sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger to directly express his satisfaction.

"I asked Thomas why he signed this paper," Rummenigge explained, "because I did not understand why a tradition rich club such as the VfB would do such a thing. I explained [my complaints] to him as well."

The meeting did not count as an officially DFL-sanctioned gathering. Rummenigge nevertheless did not deny that one intent of his summit was to send a message to the league's FA.

"We have full confidence in the DFL Executive Committee to make proper and just decisions," Rummenggie told the press corps in a statement  essentially aimed at the FA itself.

Regarding Hitzlsperger and others, the Bayern chairman utilized an old German biblical metaphor to signal that hoped for widespread conversions to his side of the issue.

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