Dortmund CEO criticised for Bundesliga coronavirus elitism comments

Berlin (AFP) –


Borussia Dortmund's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke was criticised on Tuesday for saying the Bundesliga's biggest clubs should refrain from financially helping the league's smaller outfits.

Fortuna Dusseldorf sporting director Thomas Roettgermann and Hoffenheim's owner Dietmar Hopp slammed Watzke's comments which came after the German top-flight was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Professional sides in Germany depend heavily on the income from television rights with local broadcasters paying 4.6 billion euros ($5.04 billion) a season to show matches.

"I don't know what made him say that. It wasn't the right time or the right message," Roettgermann said.

Billionaire Hopp said the likes of Dortmund and champions Bayern Munich should support the less fortunate.

"The time for solidarity is now. The strong help the weak. I hope that this solidarity is the consensus among everyone involved with the Bundesliga," he said.

Watzke said on Monday he disliked the idea of installing financial measures to aid all of the 18 sides in the top-tier.

"At the end of the day, the clubs who have made the effort to put a bit of money aside these past years can't reward those who have not," Watzke said.

"We're running businesses on a market and we're in competition."

Earlier on Monday, the league's chief executive Christian Seifert issued a word of warning for sides who could suffer without broadcast, ticket sales and sponsorship income during the COVID-19 outbreak period.

"It's a question of survival," he said in a meeting on Monday which decided to put the league on hold until at least April 2.