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Bundesliga 'ten years' behind English Premier League

18 February 2014, 14:43

Berlin - All four German clubs have reached the Champions League's last 16, but Bundesliga boss Christian Seifert believes the German league is ten years behind England's Premier League in its marketing.

The 2013 Champions League final was an all-German affair last May as Bayern Munich enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund at London's Wembley.

This season, both Bundesliga sides have joined domestic rivals Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen, who host Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, in the competition's last 16.

But Seifert says while the Germans may be enjoying on-field success, their marketing is a decade behind that of their English rivals.

In January, Premier League side Arsenal signed a five-year kit deal with Puma worth 30 million pounds (36.6 million euros, US$50m) per season.

"I am convinced that the Bundesliga will benefit from sustained good performances in Europe, in terms of global marketing," Seifert, CEO of the German Football League (DFL) told Hamburg daily Handelsblatt.

"But when you read that Puma have just pledged a three-figure deal in terms of millions, then that is food for thought.

"In terms of international marketing, the Bundesliga is ten years behind the Premier League."

Both Bayern and their Bundesliga rivals Hertha Berlin have announced recent bumper sponsorship deals.

Munich's coffers will be boosted by an extra 110 million euros from Bavarian-based finance services company Allianz and Hertha have attracted 61.2 million euros from American investment group KKR.

Seifert sees both developments as positive for the league.

"In my view, such a financial commitment can be quite meaningful," he said.

"After all, the Bundesliga is economically and sportingly one of the strongest professional leagues in the world."

But Seifert warns clubs to be wary of big-money deals from investors who could pull out overnight.

"During that period, an investor would have had some influence on the course of the competition, including de facto relegation and qualifications for international competitions," he said.

"We owe it to the clubs, their fans and their business partners to look at these deals very closely."

There are already safeguard measures in Germany, where the "50+1" rule means each club has to have a controlling stake to stop commercial investors gaining control.

At European champions Bayern Munich, for example, Audi, Adidas and now Allianz each own nine per cent, but the rest is controlled by the members via the club.



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