By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Reactions to TV-Revenue Reform: "A painful compromise for the top clubs"

Two days after the DFL announced a considerably more progressive TV-revenue-sharing model, pivotal figures in the German footballing scene continue to weigh in on a sea change with profound implications for their sport. 

The altered revenue-distribution key does count as a compromise, but it's clear that smaller clubs will benefit most from this marked transformation. 
Bundesliga clubs will see a much more egalitarian share of the funds the DFL secured for broadcasting rights over the next four years.

For those new to the discussion, a quick review. In October, a group of 14 first-and-second-tier clubs submitted a position paper to the executive committee governing their leagues in order to lobby for fairer TV-revenue redistribution. Many of the larger clubs took this as a radical affront and spoke out against it.

In November, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge formed his own bloc and convened a meeting at the Frankfurt Airport in an attempt to demonstrate to the executive committee that cohesive opposition to reform existed.

Since then, football lovers in the Bundesrepublik looked toward a December 7th meeting of the DFL executive committee, after which a decision on the new redistribution model for the new television contract would be outlined.

What emerged on Monday? As expected, a compromise of sorts. We've included the four basic pillars governing revenue-redistribution in the commentary section of our Weekend Column.

Subsequent careful study of the formulas released by the DFL confirm that this new model does indeed count as a rather significant victory for the smaller clubs. Naturally, this does not mean that their appeals were met in full or that the richer clubs will take a major hit. Moreover, German fan societies (which actually pride themselves on never being satisfied) would have preferred radical re-organization.

German footballing magazine Kicker collected comments on the new deal from voices on all sides of the issue. In essence, many of the representatives of the smaller clubs declare themselves satisfied with this "evolution instead of revolution." Those working for larger clubs can graciously concede losses that might hurt them a bit, but certainly won't sink them.

Here are some of the reactions from around German football.

Hans Joachim Watzke, Borussia Dortmund Chairman

"The DFL executive committee's decision represents a painful compromise for the top clubs. However, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, solidarity-based reasoning renders this decision both unavoidable and correct. Throughout the entire process, the vast majority of clubs in the first and second Bundesliga have conducted themselves in a cooperative and fair manner. My thanks to the committee officers for courageously serving as mediators and brokering a compromise in the varying interests of all clubs."

Oliver Leki, DFL Executive Committee and SC Freiburg board member

"I've already got the impression that there's a broad consensus out there. It was our task to find a good solution that served the interests of the entire league. I believe that many factors, such as stability, were taken under consideration in the best possible way. The correct steps for the future were taken. It was right to lay down this momentum."

Fernando Carro, Bayer 04 Leverkusen CEO

"I would like to congratulate the DFL executive committee on the development of this new revenue-distribution model. One had to take many interests into account and bundle them. Overall, the committee succeeded very well in accomplishing this by making a number of creative and sensible adjustments. I say this even though the coming changes will not necessarily benefit Bayer 04."

Klaus Filbry, Chairman of Werder Bremen Business Administration Board

"The presented redistribution model is certainly more of an evolution more than a revolution. Above all, however, the new model constitutes a developmental path out of the status quo. It can be said that the committee, after long and intense discussions, has succeeded in taking a small step toward addressing the challenges football currently faces and advancing in the right direction."

Fredi Bobic, Eintracht Frankfurt CEO (in a joint statement with Axel Hellman and Oliver Frankenbach)

"We can be very satisfied with the new re-distribution model governing the seasons 2021/22 through 2024/2025. With this model, it's possible to maintain the performance-based concept while also providing the financially weaker clubs more stability in coping with the corona crisis. We are aware of the fact that, in times of significantly declining media revenues, it was an extremely difficult challenge to construct a re-distribution model that all clubs could support. Everyone had to concede some of their ideals and certainly no one saw their wish list fully fulfilled. In light of this demanding task, one can only thank the committee for their hard work in delivering a balanced result."

Markus Rejek, Arminia Bielefeld CFO 

"Football requires urgent reform. This is not about a redistribution from rich to poor. Rather, it's about the future viability of professional football by shifting the focus back to sport and fair competition. Many points from the positional paper we submitted were taken into account. However, in our view, the central issue has not been taken on in a sufficiently bold manner."

Dirk Zingler, FC Union Berlin President  

"The decision of the DFL executive committee must be accepted. They made responsible and balanced decisions. Efforts to achieve stability for all involved parties are clearly inherent. One can nevertheless intervene more strongly and take more comprehensive steps to counteract the further financial drifting apart of large and small clubs. We welcome these first steps."

Martin Hornberger, SC Paderborn 07 Managing Director  

"This is a small step, more of an evolution than a revolution. Our percentage of the TV-revenue will not significantly improve, but, more importantly, it will not evaporate. We can and must be satisfied with this result."

Helge Leonhardt, Erzgebirge Aue President  

"We at Erzgebirge Are welcome the decision of the DFL committee on the new distribution of TV revenues. In this case, the board acted with competence and foresight, largely rejecting selfish interests. I'm aware that these parameters have not been met with enthusiast approval everywhere. However, in this extremely difficult time for all of us, a trend-setting decision was made."

Michael Ströll, Chairman of FC Augsburg Administrative Board  

"It's a sensible first step, but further sustainable changes are needed. Many of the points we have suggested in our positional paper have been addressed in the result. We would like to have seen the equal redistribution maintained and not weakened in the third and fourth years. We still need to undertake structural changes as opposed to swapping out small screws."

"Unsere Kurve", German fan alliance

"We do not see any substantial changes. The performance and marketing principle remains predominant and existing disparities are cemented. The marginal increase in the equal distribution pillar turns out to be a temporary corona-aid measure."

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