Herbert Hainer, FC Bayern München eV president and FC Bayern München AG supervisory board chairman, talked about the spread of the coronavirus and FC Bayern's response in an interview.
What is your take on the current developments, the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic?
Hainer: The Bavarian state government declared a state of emergency on Monday morning, which shows how serious the situation is. At FC Bayern it's about playing our part in the interests of society and solidarity within our means, at a time which is hard for all of us. Health and solidarity in our society are of the utmost importance now. It's about having trust, holding together and slowing down the spread of the virus under any circumstances. We as FC Bayern want to try to be a role model in our daily conduct. That's an important contribution we can make as a club. And one thing is clear: despite all the challenges – at the moment there are bigger problems and concerns than those of football.
Is there a crisis committee at the club which assesses the situation on a daily basis and formulates responses?
We're in permanent contact, internally at management level and with our staff as well as externally, with the responsible authorities, administrative bodies and of course the football associations. There are no blueprints or certain formulas, but we're doing everything to cope with this difficult situation.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has pointed out the financial challenges for the league. How do you assess it as supervisory board chairman?
The situation is very tense, it's about the survival of certain clubs. Our executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is involved in the DFL (German Football League) meeting, and on Tuesday there'll be the UEFA video conference. We'll inform our fans as soon as there are new developments. As Uli Hoeneß rightly said on Sunday, there's no handbook to consult in this situation. We all must learn to deal with this sitaution. These two meetings of the leaders in football are important, but everyone knows we must stay flexible in our decisions at this time and assess the situation anew on a daily basis.
What is FC Bayern doing to protect the players? Are there guidelines for the players in their leisure time, for example travel restrictions, especially for non-German pros?
We're doing everything to protect the players and their families of course. Health is of the utmost importance. We mustn't take it lightly. By the way, I think our players' empathetic appeals on social media were great: that everyone should do their part for society, be considerate of others, help if possible and take official instructions by the authorities seriously. Many of them concluded their statements by saying they hope we'll all meet again at a football stadium soon, healthy. I and our whole club agree with this.
What is FC Bayern doing regarding the staff?
We're making it possible for everyone to work from home. In addition, we're developing further arrangements. The health of our staff and their families comes first. It's about continuously informing people and being transparent and approachable. People are uncertain of course, and we're trying to communicate that FC Bayern is on their side, that the club is there for them whenever they're worried or have questions.
Do you see financial dangers for FC Bayern?
Of course the economic crisis caused by the situation is a great challenge for FC Bayern too. But FC Bayern is in an outstandingly good position, and we're working day by day to make sure FC Bayern weathers these special times. Despite this immense challenge, which we can only overcome united, we're confident about the future.
What are your expectations of the UEFA meeting on Tuesday, especially regarding EURO 2020 scheduled for this summer and the European competitions?
The pending European championship in June, which will be staged all over Europe, is under special scrutiny of course. As matters stand, I really can't imagine the tournament happening at this point. But we're waiting for the results of the video conference of course.
FC Bayern must plan for the future at this point. How does the corona crisis affect personnel matters like the coach's position, planned contract extensions with players like Manuel Neuer and potential transfers in summer?
Our sporting leadership, Hansi Flick, Hasan Salihamidžić and others, are doing a very good job in this unprecedented situation. The executive board is responsible for transfers and contract extensions, and it will approach the supervisory board about the particulars. But let me conclude by stressing that every one of us can do their part to overcome this crisis. I'm calling on everybody to act reasonably. Again: it's down to every single person. Every single person is important.