Mr. Schwabl, the third division is much more affected by the corona consequences than the 1st division, and the main sponsor of Hachingen has already left. Nevertheless, your club seems relaxed. How come?
By going public, we have built a small foundation and a little liquidity. Of course we can’t make big leaps, but if we stop going our own way now, we won’t have a chance in the future anyway.
Your own path also means that you are obviously the only club in the third division not to apply for short-time work benefits. Why?
Because we unanimously decided in the management bodies not to use taxpayers’ money as a professional club, because we clearly want to give priority to other sectors. We want to try to do this alone. In paid football, we only have a right to exist in our own way anyway. And that includes a lot of social projects, short-time allowance just doesn’t fit. Everyone has to draw their own consequences from this crisis, but not judge others.
What are the names for haching?
We kept our youth performance center after relegation to the 2015 regional league and even further intensified youth work. The usual reflex in our industry is rather to put everything in the first team, to play Harakiri, in order to quickly get back into the 3rd and 2nd league with the higher TV money. We did exactly the opposite and even hired several full-time youth coaches in the fourth division. Our consequence from Corona is that in the future we will rely even more on our own young talent.
But the promotion to the 2nd Bundesliga usually succeeds with the clubs that spend a lot of money?
In the third division you always pay extra. This division is a single system error in German football and has completely missed the sense of origin as a training league – as of today. Either you work on an equity basis, or you go into debt so that you rise and then get the big pots of TV money. This almost inevitably leads to the fact that you play harakiri when you want to go back up, and that is the greatest economic risk.
How is this a system error?
Because the Third League was actually designed to train young German players for the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. But we are further away from it than ever. Today we have about eight percent of minutes spent on German talent. Eight percent! Everyone struggles to survive and builds debts. As haching, we would generally feel absolutely fine in the third division, but we too have the economic pressure to rise because you cannot economize in the third division. And it goes on like this above: It’s not a problem if the top stars make a lot of money, but in our league, average players earn so much that you can only shake your head. And the icing on the cake is that they also take the seats away from their own offspring. Somebody has to explain the meaning to me so that I understand it.
What would be your idea for the league?
We have been promoting a third-league youth fund for years. Now finally there is. But only when there are 30 million in it – instead of three as at the moment – is it also worthwhile to work economically, sensibly and sustainably, also for German football, instead of playing all or nothing.
You have to explain that.
The money would have to be distributed on a project basis, not in the watering can principle, because then everything would be invested in overpriced average kickers again. The clubs that the young German players really use in league games get money from the pot. The clubs that only have the prescribed »local players« in their ranks …
The rule states that four players from your own offspring must be in the squad. She does not say that they have to be used.
Exactly. That is pure eyewash.
Clubs like Eintracht Braunschweig, 1. FC Kaiserslautern or MSV Duisburg would reply that you can easily talk to Hachings 4,000 spectators on average. The 16,000 season ticket customers at FCK want to go up again.
Totally understandable. If you want to get high with seasoned professionals, you should continue to do so. This is not an obligation to do sensible youth work. It’s just about increasing the financial incentives for it. Otherwise, the money only flows into expensive players again, and the youngsters fall by the wayside. The 1st and 2nd Bundesliga don’t even get five percent of their time spent playing for young German players, that’s a disaster for German football. And then everyone whines. Take Matthijs de Ligt, who captained Ajax Amsterdam at 18, a Champions League participant who was just before the final. Yes, do you think he won that in a competition?
At 16 he was already in the professional squad with certain periods of work, why shouldn’t that work here? If the boys don’t play in competitive games, they won’t develop. It’s no different in Paraguay than in Holland, England or Germany. For years, you get average players for a pagan money who take away the boys’ options. And then suddenly in Corona times everyone complained that the personnel costs were too high.
How do you do it in Haching?
We are not saints either, and in late summer Dominik Stroh-Engel brought in a seasoned professional, but only because we also have the economic constraint to ascend.
You started the season with a 19-year-old as a regular goalkeeper.
Exactly, we let 30-year-old Lukas Königshofer go to Uerdingen and put his trust in Nico Mantl: He has been with us in Haching since he was twelve. He’s just been ready now. Now he has become a U20 international and has a corresponding market value. Why? Because we let him play too. That makes a lot more sense, even for German football.
What is your medium-term goal?
In the next few years we want to move up to the 2nd Bundesliga. Or alternatively, be a top solid third division club with the highest proportion of regular players who come from your own youth and are therefore economically healthy.
The DFL is planning ghost games for the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga to somehow end the season. Many third division clubs, which depend heavily on the audience revenue, are vehemently against it. What is your position
There will be winners and losers in every scenario. I really don’t want to be in the skin of associations and decision-makers. Incidentally, they have done very good crisis management so far. For clubs like Magdeburg, Rostock, 1860, Braunschweig or Lautern, TV money is almost unimportant compared to the audience revenue. I’m afraid it will have to go at least until autumn without spectators. But that may not be the most important thing.
I am very curious to see whether football will retain its status after Corona, but I am very skeptical. Not least because of the huge sums paid for transfers and salaries, public opinion is turning away from professional football. He can’t pretend that everything comes out of the blue. This memo may come at the right time.
What do you suggest?
Finally, turn your head to one side, think and ask yourself if we are not all wrong. But now we have the chance to consistently rely on our own young talent in the future. If soccer Germany doesn’t wake up now, when will it?