Heldt, Eberl, and Allofs: Bundesliga matches on Boxing Day an interesting idea

The sporting directors of FC Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and VfL Wolfsburg spoke about the impending challenges of the new TV deal with German weekly paper Die Welt. The three entertain the idea that match scheduling is the right idea to create new revenue streams.

All three are open to the idea of playing matches on Boxing Day to give the league another juicy goody that fans from all around can’t miss:

Heldt: It would be exciting to play on the 26th of December. I don’t think that it would lead to huge protests. Would you (turning towards Max Eberl) be against playing on the 26th?


Eberl: Why not? What’s important to me is that we don’t squeeze everything (out of a TV deal) like a lemon. Of course, we do need to think about ways we can keep up with our competitors. That in itself demands being open towards new ideas. For instance, we could schedule games on an additional day of the week.


Allofs: Boxing Day football has its charm. The break could start afterwards. What’s important within this discussion is that we remain open to new ideas, as well as think about our traditions and to create an even closer bond with our spectators. We should be crystal clear about the fact that not everything is about even more money. The matter of fact remains: We won’t catch up with the English. We shouldn’t try to copy them. The Bundesliga needs its own recognisable face.

In light of the new TV deal, several fan groups have raised voices against matches on four different days (currently, a Bundesliga match day is spread across no more than three days). Furthermore, most fans are firmly in favour of having kickoff times of all matches at 15:30 CET on Saturdays.

The three sporting directors walk a tight rope, as they are keen to get the best TV deal possible, but at the same time, having to keep the fans happy. About that struggle Heldt and Allofs told Die Welt:

Heldt: I don’t want things to be like in England or in Spain. We are trying to generate more money, but we can’t put the integrity of the entire product on the line. We can’t have five different kickoff times on Saturday simply because of the money. Just look at Spain; Barcelona and Real are always playing in prime-time, and the rest get lost in the mix. If we do the same thing in Germany, the charm and allure of the league gets lost. We can’t chase every single Euro.


Allofs: That’s right. We need to move with the times, because otherwise we won’t be able to keep up internationally. Of course, it’s important that we have a winter break that allows the players to regenerate. However, is it a good thing that we leave the field to other sports for that long a period of time? We should think about that.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.