Bundesliga return masks major issues

Top-flight football in Germany is poised to return from its coronavirus shutdown next weekend

The Bundesliga is coming back but all is not well in German football.

In a recent survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of dpa, 46 per cent of respondents spoke out against games behind closed doors with only 34 per cent in favour.

But games without fans are just one part of the problem and German Football League (DFL) boss Christian Seifert has acknowledged that the Bundesliga needs an overhaul.

In the 2018/19 season, the Bundesliga made a record 4.02 billion euros ($A6.7b) and yet, due to the coronavirus crisis and leagues shutdown, several clubs such as Schalke found themselves in a situation of existential crisis.

Media reports said 13 of the 36 clubs in the top two divisions in Germany were threatened with bankruptcy.

The dependency on television money, which accounts for more than a third of revenues, is striking.

Several clubs pledge TV bonuses not yet received to banks in advance in order to remain liquid.

One possible remedy would be to pay more attention in the licensing process to how clubs are positioned economically in the long term and not just with a view to the next season.

The future of the 50+1 rule, whereby no investor can control a majority of shares, could be brought back into focus as clubs try to compete with rich benefactors in the English Premier League.

But any abolition of the rule would be hugely unpopular with many fans.

The earnings of many players are one reason why clubs get into economic difficulties.

According to a DFL report, the 18 Bundesliga clubs pay more than 1.4 billion euros in salaries for coaches and players per season.

This is by far the largest item of expenditure.

A salary cap could come under serious consideration but it will not be legally enforceable in Germany and Europe.

The DFL also believes fees of over 100 million euros ($A167m) for a player are unsustainable but tackling the issue is as difficult as salaries.

The television landscape has become increasingly confusing for football fans in Germany with live games on free TV are.

Despite understandable efforts to get the most money out of the rights allocation, German football now looks less likely to let the entire product disappear behind paywalls.

Winning back fans is the key to the Bundesliga's chances of prospering again.

Furthermore, plans to restart competitive soccer in Germany on May 16 suffered an early setback when the entire team of second tier Dynamo Dresden were placed in a two-week quarantine after two positive coronavirus tests.

Dresden were scheduled to play Hannover 96 next Sunday in their first game back from the stoppage but that match has now been cancelled.