The German Football League (DFL) will scrap Monday evening games in the top-tier Bundesliga following widespread fan protests against the new fixture slot that was introduced last season.
Under the terms of the DFL’s current broadcast deal, running from 2017-18 to 2020-21, Bundesliga clubs agreed to five Monday night games per season. This commitment will remain in place throughout the current rights window, but the DFL has announced that Monday games will be abandoned when it looks to negotiate its next broadcast deal in 2020.
FC Nürnberg and Bayer 04 Leverkusen will contest this season’s first Monday night game on December 3, but the policy has proved unpopular with fans who have labelled it as evidence of growing commercialisation of the sport.
The DFL introduced Monday night football in response to concerns over fixture congestion from clubs competing in Thursday evening games in the Uefa Europa League. The five Monday Bundesliga matches will be moved to Sundays from 2021-22 and the DFL again pointed to the reasons behind the original decision in a statement released yesterday (Wednesday).
The DFL said: “There were sporting reasons for the introduction of relief dates in the Bundesliga fixtures. Bundesliga clubs that start in the Europa League had previously asked again and again not to have to play on Saturday after international games on Thursday. Against this background, a total of 10 changed dates were decided per season. Of these, five are scheduled for Sunday and five for Monday in the current legal period. This breakdown, and its reasons, were already transparently presented by the DFL in April 2016.
“Overall, the number of games on weekdays in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga was recently significantly reduced. Compared to the previous legal period (2013-2017), the number of ‘English weeks’ in both leagues has been reduced from four to a maximum of two.”