(Reuters) - Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have come together to create a 20 million euros (18.3 million pounds) solidarity fund to help German clubs in the top two tiers stave off a potential financial crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.
Germany’s Bundesliga and second division are set to resume in April but the organising body’s (DFL) executive committee has recommended the season be suspended until at least April 30, which will further impact revenues of clubs across the country.
Dortmund said the four clubs, who participated in the Champions League this season, will forego their share of the national media revenue — approximately 12.5 million euros — while adding an additional 7.5 million euros of their own.
"We are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic," Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement here
Dortmund are no strangers to an economic crisis, with the club nearly going bust in 2005, before Bayern came to their rescue with an interest-free loan so they could pay their players’ salaries.
The DFL Executive Committee will decide on the criteria for the distribution of the solidarity fund.
“The DFL Executive Committee is very thankful to the four Champions League participants for their gesture towards our community of clubs,” said Executive Committee spokesman Christian Seifert.
“This initiative shows that solidarity is more than just lip service in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.”
Borussia Moenchengladbach’s players and coaching staff became the first in Germany to accept pay cuts during the coronavirus crisis earlier this month while players at Union Berlin have also agreed to go without their wages.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis