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DFL appoints bank for private equity bridging loan proposals

Christian Seifert, CEO of the German Football League (DFL), speaks during a press conference (by Arne Dedert/Pool/Getty Images)

German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert has said that the governing body of the top two divisions of the domestic game is in talks over a potential bridging loan, adding that it is working on a plan for games to return at all 36 stadia by the beginning of May.

On March 31, the DFL ratified a recommendation to further suspend play until at least April 30 amid the Covid-19 pandemic. That recommendation also tied in with the postponement of its invitation to tender for domestic Bundesliga broadcast rights from 2021-22 to 2024-25.

In an interview with the New York Times, Seifert said that not finishing the current season would result in costs of up to €750m ($815.9m), adding that 50 per cent of 2. Bundesliga teams would be “very much in danger to file for bankruptcy,” if the season was cancelled, while as many as five Bundesliga clubs would face serious problems.

Bundesliga clubs are likely to lose around €100m from the absence of fans from games, while domestic rights partners are understood to have yet to have paid the final €300m instalment for their contracts. The league remains in talks with the broadcast rights-holders about payment schedules, however.

Private equity firms KKR and Apollo Global Management are said to have initiated talks over a potential nine-figure bridging loan to the DFL and Seifert confirmed the league has appointed an international bank to deal with those inquiries.

The DFL has unanimously agreed that it wants to complete the current season by June 30, including without spectators if necessary. To aid planning, the DFL last month formed a ‘Sports Medicine/Special Match Operations Task Force’.

The task force will centrally documenting all Covid-19 cases at the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs. The commission is also developing a procedure for the strict and independent testing of players and other staff members, including immediately prior to matchdays.

In addition, organisational measures for preventing transmission at stadia and specific processes for organising matches and training, which resumed this week, are being defined in close cooperation with external experts and authorities and set out in the form of standardised guidelines.