Mainz board members gave a special digital press conference to provide clarity on the current situation at the club.
An unfamiliar sight on Thursday afternoon in the OPEL ARENA: a digital press conference was held to update the press on the situation at Mainz 05 with regards to the recent coronavirus outbreak. Club chairman Stefan Hofmann, sporting director Rouven Schröder and CFO Dr. Jan Lehmann took to the podium to answer questions submitted by fans and journalists.
It’s already been eleven days since the Zerofivers hosted Fortuna Düsseldorf in the Bundesliga. Coronavirus has presented itself as an immense challenge for FSV Mainz 05, and also clubs and institutions all over the world. As Hofmann said, “we can only beat this, if we learn to stand together again. It affects society, politics, and also sport and football of course. The recognition of the necessity that we face this situation together, seems to be increasingly prevalent.”
Stefan Hofmann: “This current global situation has extreme consequences for society and, of course, for sport as well. Everybody needs to do their bit to make sure the spread of the virus slows down so as not to put too much pressure on health services. As a club, we’ve decided not to give constant status updates, we won’t be pushed and we won’t drift along. Because there is no crystal ball to look into. From our point of view, populist statements and rhetoric are the wrong way to go.
We don’t want to point fingers at the football millionaires. Solidarity comes from within, the process begins here. In light of the rapid developments of recent weeks, we’ve considered various scenarios. They are; playing behind closed doors, cancelling the season or postponing it until autumn. It’ll be tough for most clubs, so we need to walk a common path in German football. However, we cannot foresee the actual outcome yet.”
Dr. Jan Lehmann: “We consciously took the time to create transparency and crunch the numbers. No business can survive we they can’t sell their product. So the question is this; how long will we go without football? The best case scenario is to play the remainder of the season behind closed doors. We’d feel it, but we’d survive. Cancelling the season would do us a lot of damage, but we’re convinced that we’d survive that too.” Lehmann then went on to give an insight on the numbers. “Around 50% of our income is generated through media fees. And it’s 60% when income from transfer fees isn’t taken into account. 14% of our income comes from ticketing and hospitality. The longer we don’t generate this money, the worse it becomes for us. The fact is this; if football returns, Mainz 05 will survive this crisis.”
Lehmann on salary payments at an administrative level: “We’ll pay all of our March salaries at a 100% rate in accordance with working contracts. We’d be able to continue to do this, but are considering different scenarios and will speak with our employees. It is also clear that we on the board want to set a good example. We will not first demand something and then deliver it ourselves, but quite the opposite. The salaries at the administrative level are 8%, so you can certainly save, but that won't save the existence of the association. We can say today that no jobs are in danger.
Rouven Schröder on the team: “All the players have individual training regimes and exercise programmes to be completed at home. They’re doing strength and conditioning work, and the results are being uploaded to the cloud. They’re being monitored every day and have constant contact with the manager, fitness coaches, doctors and physios. And with me as well, of course.”
Rouven Schröder on the pros’ salary payments: “The topic is being actively talked about. It should not be forgotten here that footballers are normal people with their own fears, who also have a private environment and may need support. So it’s self-evident that we need to stand with our team. They came to us of their own accord. In addition the readiness from the trainer team, the staff and the team management! That gives me a very good feeling. However, this should and must not be a means of sharpening our profile, but, as I said, is a matter of course. We want to and will do something, the willingness of everyone is there. And it is also necessary that everyone makes their contribution.