Bayern welcomed 250 fans to its final home game of the 2020-21 season, a 5-2 win over FC Augsburg on May 22. The game represented the first time Bayern fans had been in the Allianz Arena since March 8, 2020, as Covid-19 restrictions in its home state of Bavaria necessitated closed doors matches.

Bayern in December announced a €9.8m profit for the 2019-20 season, a decrease of more than 81 per cent from the season before. The club blamed the pandemic for the downturn and the fact all of its home matches at the Allianz Arena had been played behind closed doors, which damaged planned income for the final third of the season.

Bayern yesterday (Monday) held a press conference to introduce club legend Oliver Kahn in his new role as chief executive. Bayern last month announced that its long-standing chief executive, chairman and board member,  Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, would step down six months earlier than originally planned.

The move means that the club’s former goalkeeper, Kahn, has stepped up as chief executive sooner than expected, but will be given a full season, as well as a full financial year, in his first year at the helm, rather than picking up the reins mid-campaign.

Rummenigge was expected to leave his position with the Bundesliga champions – where he has sat on the board since the early 1990s – at the end of 2021, but chose to depart with the conclusion of the 2020-21 Bundesliga season instead and vacated the role on June 30.

Bayern’s financial standing amid Covid-19 was addressed during yesterday’s gathering, with president Herbert Hainer stating the club’s “ambitions have not diminished” despite the significant loss of matchday revenue.

“We have now had the pandemic for about a year and a half, the last time we played in front of spectators on March 8, 2020,” Hainer said. “We are assuming a loss of sales of €150m in these one and a half years.”

Bayern’s disclosure comes with two of its fellow European giants having made significant moves to address their financial issues in recent weeks. Italian Serie A club Juventus confirmed plans for a capital increase of up to €400m after stating that it expects to lose €320m due to the impact of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, US alternative investment manager Ares Management acquired a 33.96-per-cent stake in a new company created for a €181.9m capital increase at Spanish LaLiga club Atlético de Madrid.

The new Bundesliga season is due to commence on August 13 and Bayern is hoping that a limited number of fans will be able to watch the first home match against Cologne on August 21. Kahn said: “One thing is very clear: we want to have spectators back in the stadium as soon as possible, but health comes first. We’re working together with the DFL (German Football League) so we can all soon celebrate watching live football again.”

Hainer added: “We’re in very close discussions with the government and the authorities. We firmly expect to be able to play in front of fans at the beginning of the season. People’s health always comes first, of course. At the start of the Bundesliga, however, there will certainly be considerably more than the 1,500 fans allowed in for the upcoming friendly matches.”

Originally published on SportBusiness.

test test