Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the German champions are not prepared to pay astronomical transfer fees and criticised European politicians for their lack of support in introducing a salary cap to football.
And Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore does not think English clubs will rival the €222 million fee PSG paid Barcelona for Neymar.
This summer Bayern have broken their transfer record with the signing of Corentin Tolisso from Lyon, but have also signed young German prospects Niklas Sule, Sebastian Rudy, Serge Gnabry and loaned James Rodriguez for two years from Real Madrid for a reported loan fee of €5 million per annum.
Following Neymar’s move, Rummenigge told Sport Bild: “During the course of his transfer, I asked myself what would be more important: Neymar or the Allianz Arena? Bearing in mind Neymar’s transfer was even more expensive, I have to say that we prefer the Allianz Arena. It’s more important to us.”
Bayern paid off the €346m costs for the Allianz Arena in 2014, 16 years earlier than planned with the help of Allianz, which paid €110m for 8.33 percent stake in the club.
Rummenigge said Bayern were not prepared to pay the sort of transfer fees required to attract the likes of Neymar — nor were they in a financial position to do so.
“We are not willing to do this and are unable to do this. Moreover, that is OK — the public and our fans believe this is the right way, I think. Bayern must use a different philosophy,” he said.
Rummenigge also serves as European Club Association (ECA) chairman and hit out at European politicians for refusing to previously back his plans to limit players’ salaries.
He added: “Before FFP was introduced 2011, I went to the EU Commission in Brussels several times with then UEFA president Michel Platini. A salary cap in European football was our aim — which was always rejected. I ask myself why, before 2011, politicians failed to support the collective wish of UEFA and the clubs.”
Going forward, Rummenigge has called for “more rationality” in football and a combined effort to cap transfer fees.
“We have to discuss this within football, between FIFA, UEFA, the ECA, leagues and player association FIFPro. Everyone should sit around a table — that is my suggestion,” Rummenigge said. “In that way, we could attain more rational regulations in football as a whole. Otherwise, the general public no longer understands and fans are alienated.”
Scudamore has said he does not expect to see a transfer deal in England that comes anywhere near PSG’s move for Neymar, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: “I can’t see anything like that [happening in the Premier League]. When the previous record was £89m [paid by Manchester United for Paul Pogba], to suddenly go to £200m… that’s something else going on there.
“That’s the owners of Paris Saint-Germain and the Qataris deciding that they want to make a statement. They’ve made a huge statement but I don’t think we’re going to see that replicated and, in some ways, I’m glad it’s not the Premier League holding that particular record.”
Scudamore added that he believed Premier League salaries were sustainable, saying: “Of course you can’t pay every player the top wages. But the way the regulations work, people have to work within their means generally and that’s been happening. The salaries are sustainable within the way the finances of the game are now run, certainly in the Premier League.”
Meanwhile, Stefan Effenberg has said Bayern must spend more in order to compete with the top clubs in Europe and would not be surprised if they failed to win the Champions League in the next decade.
Effenberg, Bayern’s 2001 Champions League-winning captain, told t-online there’s “already a large gap” between the Bundesliga champions and the European elite, which will become even larger if they are not willing to compete for the top players in the transfer market.
“When you see how other clubs are upgrading, with €222m invested in a Neymar — it’s not becoming easier for FC Bayern — quite the contrary,” he said.
“Paris is definitely now one of the favourites to win the Champions League — they are hungry and have many different options.”
Commenting on the explosion in transfer fees: “Unfortunately that’s the direction the game is heading,” Effenberg said. “The gap will become even bigger to clubs that are able to and want to [pay the money] — even if [Bayern president] Uli Hoeness states in public: ‘No, we are not prepared to pay that.'”
Bayern last won the Champions League in 2013. Asked whether it would be a shock if Bayern did not lift European football’s top club trophy in the next 10 years, Effenberg said: “No, it wouldn’t surprise me because of the growth in transfer fees. Paris, Barcelona and Real [Madrid] all lay their cards on the table. In addition, the English clubs have a chance too. If Bayern doesn’t also do this, the gap will become even bigger — and it’s already large at the moment.”
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.