Playing behind closed doors is only way for Bundesliga clubs to survive, says DFL chief Seifert

Playing games behind closed doors is “the only chance of survival in the near future” for Bundesliga clubs according to Christian Seifert, CEO of the German Football League (DFL).

The Bundesliga has extended its ongoing suspension until April 2 due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on football, with a further decision to be made in late March.

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Sunday that he believed that if football is to recommence, it will be without the presence of fans in the stands.

Scroll to continue with content

“If we play again this season, it will be ghost games,” he said on Sportschau.

“Nobody in the Bundesliga still assumes that we will still have games with supporters.”

Now, DFL chief Seifert has underlined the severity of the situation, and the need to ensure playing behind closed doors remains an option.

He told a press conference that if such a solution was ruled out, “you no longer have to worry about whether we will soon be playing with 18 or 20 professional clubs in the Bundesliga, because then there will be no more 18 professional clubs.

"If you no longer have audience revenue, TV revenue and, consequently, sponsorship revenue, then things would be ok for a while, but not for very long.”

Seifert added: "Nobody is a fan of matches behind closed doors but, for many clubs, they may be the only way to keep clubs in business.

"I am aware that football is viewed as a billion-dollar business. But at the centre of it all is the game itself and the 56,000 jobs dependent on it every match day.

"Without sponsorship and TV income, those jobs and the very existence of clubs is in danger."

Dortmund’s Watzke had previously said he believed German football was facing “the greatest crisis in its history” due to the impact of coronavirus.

"It is to be hoped that the Bundesliga clubs have built up so much substance in recent years that everyone will survive this crisis,” he said in a club statement

"An existential threat to Borussia Dortmund can be excluded according to everything we can assess today."

What to read next