Berlin (dpa) – Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke,in an interview published Sunday, has partly apologised for a recent controversial statement towards smaller clubs in connection with the coronavirus crisis.
Watzke had two weeks ago on ARD television seemingly ruled out financial aid for struggling clubs.
“We are also competitors. And then you have to balance very precisely what is still competition and what is no longer competition.In the end, the clubs that have built up some reserves in the past few years, can’t reward those who have not done so,” he said.
That led to criticism and Watzke now told the Bild am Sonntag paper that while the statement was correct from its content “I could have expressed it in a friendlier and more empathetic way.”
He added it is “ultimately not how friendly you say something, but whether it is correct in terms of content.
“We cannot ignore the fact that the Bundesliga clubs are and will remain competitors. And yet, of course, we are in solidarity if someone has got into trouble through no fault of their own. One thing doesn’t rule out the other.”
Earlier in the week Dortmund, as well the other three German Champions League clubs Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, announced a joint 20 million euros (22.3 million dollars) solidarity fund for clubs in trouble, to be distributed by the German Football League.
Watzke also told Bild am Sonntag the situation was a little similar to that in 2005 when Dortmund were facing bankruptcy.
“But in 2005 we were the only ones affected. Now society as a whole is suffering – that is a completely different dimension. Especially since nobody knows how the corona crisis will develop in the next few weeks,” Watzke said.