Sport Is the upper salary limit for professional soccer players?

19:30  03 august  2020
19:30  03 august  2020 Source:   dw.com

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This Tuesday, the members of the German Football League will advise, among other things, on two Bundestag reports on whether so-called "salary caps" are possible in professional football. A complex topic, experts say.

Provided by Deutsche Welle © picture-alliance / augenklick / firo Sportphoto / J. Fromme Provided by Deutsche Welle

"That won't work," said Bavaria's honorary president Uli Hoeneß to the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" when asked about salary caps in professional football. In earlier times, when Hoeneß's word had even more weight and that The development potential of football seemed to be unlimited, if he had mostly found his approval with his assessment. But those days are over. The corona crisis has shown how fragile the system of professional football is despite billions of euros from TV contracts. A whole range of clubs from Bundesliga and 2nd league got into trouble after the outbreak of the pandemic. Insolvencies could just be averted. Professional football had to question itself for better or worse. The DFB, DFL and the clubs wanted to enact a new philosophy of doing business want to act with humility and a sense of proportion. FC Schalke 04 is the first Bundesliga club to have a salary Limit for new contracts introduced. But the step is more likely due to the fact that the traditional club from the Ruhr area is financially with its back to the wall and needed a guarantee from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in the tens of millions to avoid bankruptcy.

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Oppermann's push

SPD-Politiker Thomas Oppermann © picture alliance / dpa / K. Nietfeld SPD politician Thomas Oppermann

The German Bundestag is now pushing for a general introduction of a salary limit in German professional football, more precisely from Bundestag Vice President Thomas Oppermann. The SPD politician is also chairman of the DFB ethics committee. According to information from the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" Oppermann has commissioned two reports from the Bundestag's scientific service to investigate the possibility of an upper salary limit in European football. Result: A so-called "salary cap" is basically possible - and does not violate EU law. Exactly that has been the main argument from the football industry against capping professional salaries.

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For the sports lawyer Jan F. Orth from the University of Cologne, the reports that are to be presented at the DFL general meeting on Tuesday leave many questions unanswered. "It is not even clear which forms of salary caps are addressed. The topic is extremely complex in legal terms," ​​Orth told DW. "Very difficult questions of European law, in particular European antitrust law and German labor law are addressed." The scientist says that a European, not a German solution is needed: "In line with the reports, it seems to me that a solution can only be found across Europe with the involvement of UEFA - if salary caps are even wanted in terms of sports policy."

Bundesliga clubs as pioneers?

Orth addresses another problem. Because the advance of Oppermanns should meet little favor in the industry despite the propagated new humility, as the words of Uli Hoeneß suggest. The Bundesliga clubs should play a pioneering role in finding a European solution, says Thomas Hoeren, sports lawyer at the University of Münster. "The small clubs can only survive if the big clubs act ethically better," said Hoeren of the "ARD sports show": "There are the scapegoats from England and Spain. From there there will also be resistance to the upper limits. But just that German voice has weight at UEFA. "

Salary caps have long proven themselves in US sports, for example in the NBA basketball league. A total budget is agreed there at the beginning of the season, which each team can spend on salaries. Only a minimum salary is set. Since the total is capped, financially strong teams are prevented from signing all top players.

author: David Vorholt

Insolvency proceedings: The risk for clubs and players .
The Corona crisis has shown, alarmingly quickly, how unstable the financial situation of many football clubs is. Law professor Philipp S. Fischinger explains in kicker why this is the case. © imago images One thing is clear: a club bankruptcy is associated with risks for both players and clubs under labor law. While Karlsruher SC, for example, was able to avert bankruptcy, third division club 1. FC Kaiserslautern had to go bankrupt.

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