Armin Laschet does not confirm alleged state guarantee

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“No Lex Schalke”
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Laschet wants to calm the “people’s soul”

According to Prime Minister Armin Laschet, the state government has not taken a decision on a guarantee for FC Schalke 04. He could not confirm reports of public aid for the financially troubled Bundesliga club in the amount of 40 million euros.

At the third demand, Armin Laschet leaned forward, annoyed. “There will definitely be no Lex Schalke 04,” the NRW Prime Minister assured on Tuesday in Düsseldorf with a firm voice. Each state guarantee is “checked according to strict criteria”.

So, if there is one, that guarantee for the chronically scarce miners from Gelsenkirchen. According to the Handelsblatt, the state – and thus the taxpayers – should stand with up to 40 million euros in the event that the Bundesliga club, which is indebted with almost 200 million euros, cannot service a living security loan.

Laschet left this and the subsequent reports from WAZ, kicker or SZ unconfirmed with reference to the prescribed confidentiality. “There is no decision on any guarantee issue,” the problem is anyway: “I should not even confirm that an application exists.”

The NRW Ministry of Finance had also said on SID request that information was not possible. All negotiations or advice are confidential. Schalke did not want to comment, on Wednesday the financial situation will be the subject of a press conference.

The shit storm, however, started on Monday evening and intensified on Tuesday. There was a lack of understanding on social media, many referring to the highly controversial Clemens Tönnies, the chairman of the supervisory board. In Tönnies’ meat factory, a corona outbreak triggered more than 1500 cases of outrage, the Schalke Ultras have wanted to get rid of the patriarch anyway, at least since his racist statements last August. Tönnies then resigned from office for three months.

Laschet faced all discussions with objectivity. “Aid has repeatedly been given to associations that are also commercial companies,” he said, “from all NRW governments since 1995”. He won’t buddy with his buddies: “I will insist that there is no special arrangement.” In contrast to previous Schalke guarantees, for example for arena construction, this time it is about the continuation of a traditional club, which would be a higher risk for the country.

In April Schalke board member Alexander Jobst spoke of a “potentially existential” situation. There are 197.9 million euros of liabilities in the 2019 consolidated financial statements, Schalke wrote a loss of 26.1 million euros in 2018/19 – still without corona effects. Borussia Dortmund put the pandemic cut at 45 million euros, which could explain the magnitude of the S04 guarantee. “This is not honorary, knowing that the people’s soul feels differently,” said BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke on Tuesday.

Each home game without a spectator costs Schalke about two million, plus there are reduced revenues in the areas of advertising / marketing. Hardly any large sums will be generated on the slumped transfer market. Captain and fighter Daniel Caligiuri is transferring to FC Augsburg free of charge.

But the Schalke counterattack. According to SZ, the club is the first Bundesliga club to introduce an annual salary cap for players of 2.5 million euros. To what extent this is related to the desired guarantee is unclear. NRW expects a resilient, credible concept.

Apparently, Schalke is all about it. The record series of 16 games without a win is currently the least of the problems.

(eh / sid)

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