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Rummenigge: 'Bundesliga needs to be more competitive'

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Rummenigge: 'Bundesliga needs to be more competitive'

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:54 am


Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was recently elected to the board of the German Football League (DFL). The Munich boss believes the league association's most important priority is to restore the Bundesliga's competitiveness compared to the other top leagues in Europe. Rummenigge is also keen to ensure the German top flight remains accessible to viewers unable to afford subscription TV, but is a sceptic when it comes to plans for an expanded, regular season League Cup competition.

<b></b> Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Georg Kofler is stepping down as chairman of subscription TV channel Premiere on 31 August. How will that influence the Bundesliga's relationship with its premium broadcast partner?
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "I don't know why he's quitting. It seems to have taken everyone by surprise, but I'm convinced even without Georg Kofler, Premiere will remain a good and reliable partner for the Bundesliga. We at Bayern know his successor Michael Börnicke very well, and we're sure there won't be any negative effects.“

<b></b> You've just been elected to the board of the German Football League (DFL). The new chairman is Dr. Reinhard Rauball. What do you know of him?
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "We at Bayern threw our support behind Rauball as soon as he announced his candidature. I think he's the right man for a number of reasons. He has 20 years' experience in professional football. He has the intellect to be a chairman. And because he's not involved on the operational side at his club, he has plenty of time and no local distractions. I think he'll make a very good DFL chairman.“

<b></b> What will be his priorities?
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "The Bundesliga is a wonderful product for the domestic market. The stadiums are full, the sponsors and fans are delighted. But we need the Bundesliga to regain competitiveness on the international stage, and for that we need higher TV revenues. Just look at the sums banked by the clubs in England, Spain and Italy. It can't be an accident that these nations have pulled away a little at club level. I think that's the most important task for the coming years.“

<b></b> But won't raising more money from TV mean less football on free-to-air stations?
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "The one doesn't exclude the other. The <i>Sportschau</i> [early Saturday evening highlights show – Ed.] is an integral part of German history. It would be good if the DFL and the Pay-TV station – there's only Premiere at the moment, I don't know whether there's another candidate waiting in the wings – and first channel ARD could find a satisfactory solution. At Bayern, we'd like the <i>Sportschau</i> to survive and maintain contact with ordinary fans who can't afford subscription TV.“

<b></b> What do you think of DFL plans to transform the League Cup into a DFB German Cup lookalike?
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "I would suggest running the 2008 League Cup in its current form and not make any hasty decisions. UEFA is considering awarding the third Champions League starting berth to the national Cup winners. The clubs in Europe are against that, but you never know what'll actually happen in the end. We should wait for developments in this area first, and then work out the best solution for the DFB Cup and the League Cup. However, in my opinion, we don't need a product directly competing with the DFB Cup.“

<b></b> Especially as it would increase the physical burden on the players.
<i><b>Rummenigge:</b></i> "We do have to ensure the burden isn't too heavy, especially for clubs whose players also feature on the international scene. I'm all for solidarity, but you can also overdo solidarity. Let's not forget this: in England they have a 20-club top flight, and they also have a season-long League Cup, resembling our DFB Cup, as well as the FA Cup. And then, when England arrive for world or European tournaments, most of the players are tired and exhausted. We need to spare a thought for the national set-up, and not gild the lily too much.“
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