Dhe financial auditors of the German Football League (DFL), who will have to deal with quite explosive documents in the coming days, will probably turn to the data from Gelsenkirchen with a particularly queasy feeling. Christian Seifert, the managing director of the league association, had ordered a first step in dealing with the provisional termination of the game on Monday: “All clubs immediately create extreme scenarios with the background of their economic capabilities.”
Anyone who listened to Peter Peters, CFO of FC Schalke 04 at his presentation of the 2019 annual report a day later, quickly realized that the Schalke “extreme scenario” should look particularly threatening. A long interruption in competition could quickly lead to a dangerous struggle for survival. “We do nothing else but play football and host events,” said Peters. “If this is not possible in the long term, it is a threat to existence – as if a furniture company was no longer allowed to build furniture.”
The district club is hit by the corona crisis at a particularly unfavorable moment. Because the team played against relegation last year and has to make do without any income from the European Cup in the current season, sales shrank from EUR 350.4 million in fiscal year 2018 to EUR 275 million the following year. Income from transfers fell from a good 45 million euros to 15 million, and the net debt is still 118.7 million euros despite the stadium being paid off. “The effects of the current situation show that it is about the existence of FC Schalke,” Marketing Director Alexander Jobst had already admitted on Monday. But at least the Schalke players are better at dealing with different major crises than most other professional clubs.