Hoeneß’ TV football fee idea gets the boot

Hoeneß' TV football fee idea gets the boot
Maybe just two euros? Photo: DPA
Politicians, broadcasters and football functionaries on Monday all roundly rejected an idea by FC Bayern Munich manager Uli Hoeneß to slap a €2 fee on all German households with a TV to help finance the Bundesliga.

Hoeneß told business magazine Wirtschaftswoche over the weekend that German football needed the extra cash to keep up with Europe’s top leagues. The fee would enable the country’s main two public TV channels – ARD and ZDF – to secure the broadcast rights for the Bundesliga.

“I consider his idea both unrealistic and completely over the top. That’s about as nuts as it can get,” said Peter Danckert, the head of the German parliament’s sport committee.

The head of ARD’s sport programming, Axel Balkausky also rejected capping Germany’s already hefty TV licence fee with some sugar for the Bundesliga.

“I don’t believe the public broadcasters are there to finance football,” he told daily paper Bild.

Christoph Waitz, an MP for the pro-market Free Democrats, said Hoeneß’ suggestion would not only likely run afoul of EU competition rules, but that it would open a Pandora’s box for sporting subsidies.

“I ask myself how this could be separated from other sports,” he said. “Will we in the future pay an extra 20 cents for the Tour de France, 80 cents for Formula One and €1.20 for the handball league?”

Even other Bundesliga officials seemed to realise Hoeneß was bound to see red for his idea.

“Hoeneß knows full well that will never happen,” said Hoffenheim manager Jan Schindelmeiser. “Maybe he wasn’t really being serious.”