President Hainer: "We'll manage it together"
The coronavirus is a huge challenge for FC Bayern. President Herbert Hainer explains to members' magazine "51" the club's position in this situation.
The interview with Herbert Hainer
Herr Hainer, you've been president for around six months and now have to overcome unprecedented difficulties with FC Bayern with the coronavirus. How are you dealing with this?
"No one saw this situation coming when I was elected president and chairman of the Supervisory Board of FC Bayern half a year ago. Now it's a matter of steering FC Bayern through this difficult time together with all those responsible and the club's employees. The most important thing these days, however, is everyone in our society, that everyone plays their part and contributes in an exemplary manner for the benefit of the community. It's a challenge for a Bayern president as much as for any other person. We have to stand together to overcome this crisis as quickly as possible."
Your plea is that it's more important than ever for each of us to behave in an exemplary manner.
"That's right. Right at the beginning of the crisis, I appealed to all our staff, members and fans to please behave sensibly and follow the rules and regulations of politicians and experts. That is currently the top priority. We all want to get back to our usual lives as soon as possible, and of course we all want to gather again in football stadiums, basketball halls and on other sports fields in good health."
How is FC Bayern generally dealing with this complex situation?
"The difficulty is that none of us has ever experienced such a situation and therefore no one can make any serious predictions at the moment. There's no patent remedy here. But I can assure all our fans that we're doing everything behind the scenes to ensure that FC Bayern remains the club we all love so much, even after this crisis is over. The health and safety of people is our top priority and we really do take this very seriously. We're in constant exchange with politicians, the authorities, experts and, of course, the DFL and DFB. There will be a time after the corona crisis. And there FC Bayern will again delight people with great sport and hopefully many titles."
How should FC Bayern present itself to the fans in these times?
"We as FC Bayern want to try to be a role model in our daily actions. This is an important contribution that we as a club can make. One thing that's also clear is that, despite all the challenges facing FC Bayern, there are currently bigger problems and concerns than those of football. People outside, be it in hospitals or at the supermarket checkouts, are doing great things. They are the true heroes of our time. I think it's unbelievably wonderful how our players are using social media to appeal to people and have responded quickly with donations. By giving up 20 per cent of their wages, the management, coach and team are also sending out a signal of solidarity. Another example of active solidarity is the fact that our basketball players helped out for a week at the Munich food bank, because right now we should all look out for those people who need our help."
How great is the danger that the football world could slip into unpredictable trouble?
"Of course the situation is very tense. It's about the existence of individual clubs. And even FC Bayern faces a major financial challenge -- that's no secret. But our club is in an excellent position. We work day after day to ensure that FC Bayern can navigate through this phase without any major damage. Despite this immense task, we're looking to the future with confidence."
Will there be any general effects on the transfer market, which has become rather heated in recent times?
"As I said, although serious predictions are difficult to make, it's obvious there'll be changes. I agree with Uli Hoeneß' assumption that transfer fees will decrease. That's just logical. When income decreases, there's less money in circulation. And given the economic impact of the corona crisis on people's everyday lives, outrageous sums in the millions are even less justifiable than they already were. My hope is that more common sense will be applied here as well. I have to take my hat off Hasan Salihamidzic and our sporting leadership. They're handling the corona situation very well."
The summer's Euros have been postponed. What's your opinion on this decision?
"Under the circumstances, it was the only sensible decision. The tournament this year was supposed to take place across Europe, and it wasn't possible to present or imagine that at this point in time."
What happens next?
"Step by step out of the crisis. That is the only way. And we'll manage it together. I think there are many positive concurrent circumstances. I have the feeling people are once again taking care of each other a bit better -- we definitely feel a great sense of cohesion among our fans, and that's how it should be in a club, especially in bad times, to have an unifying effect. It isn't easy for us all right now, but I'm already looking forward to the action resuming again. That's the president in me talking, the chairman of the board, but first and foremost the fan."