Home » Schalke 04: Tönnies – “I answered: I am not available for a revolt”

Schalke 04: Tönnies – “I answered: I am not available for a revolt”

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Schalke 04: Tönnies – “I answered: I am not available for a revolt”

FC Schalke 04 controversial contract

“I answered them: I am not available for a revolt”

As of: 5:19 p.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes

Clemens Tönnies is still a financial backer at Schalke. The “Böklunder” brand, a company from the Tönnies Group, is one of the club’s premium sponsors

Source: picture alliance/dpa/Rolf Vennenbernd

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Schalke 04 concludes a cooperation agreement with the marketer Sportfive. Former club boss Clemens Tönnies had warned about this. But the club management decided to do so anyway – probably in order to no longer have to rely on the help of the club’s long-standing patron in the future.

There was massive controversy surrounding the move, but on Tuesday FC Schalke 04 announced: The Bundesliga relegated team will be marketed by Sportfive from March 1st for at least five years. This is how long the contract with the service provider runs. It applies to the first, second and third leagues. Matthias Tillmann, the new CEO of the Royal Blues, and chairman of the supervisory board Axel Hefer are hoping for additional income, which the traditional club, which is in debt of around 165 million euros, urgently needs.

Tillmann and CFO Christina Rühl-Hamers had already informed the employees on Monday evening. The employees in the sales department are directly affected by the cooperation. They will now be given offers as to how they could no longer work directly for Schalke, but for Sportfive in the future.

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The move is particularly controversial because there are fears that Schalke could become dependent. The former chairman of the supervisory board, Clemens Tönnies, also sounded the alarm. The long-time club patron warned that the plan was a “fatal mistake that cannot be easily reversed.” Schalke would “sell away the last silverware,” others had criticized. A lever for shaping the future would be carelessly given away.

Schalke relies on planning security

Tillmann strongly disagrees with this. The opposite is true. Decision-making authority over marketing rights remains with the club. However, working with Sportfive would create opportunities that Schalke would not otherwise have.

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“Our sales power is more than tripled in one fell swoop. This noticeably increases our planning security for the near and medium future,” explained the 40-year-old, who worked for the online travel portal Trivago before working for Schalke – including working alongside Hefer for several years. Tillmann is convinced that new partners could be won in an overall difficult sponsor market. This is difficult to achieve with the club’s own, manageable marketing team.

The latter is undisputed. Last summer, Schalke almost had to start the season without a main sponsor. Bernd Schröder, Tillmann’s predecessor, was unable to present any conclusions despite months of searching. It was only a few days before the start of the second division season that Veltins was persuaded to step in. However, the arena’s long-time namesake only pays around three million euros per year – significantly less than Schalke had originally calculated.

Sponsors are dissatisfied with the club’s course

In addition, the commitment is limited to one year. So Schalke is looking again, this time with the support of Sportfive. In addition, several contracts with so-called premium sponsors are expiring, including the one with “Böklunder”, a company from the Tönnies Group.

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Several sponsors have been very dissatisfied with Schalke’s current course for a long time. That’s why, at the partners’ request, a meeting took place in December at which Tillmann and Hefer found themselves exposed to strong criticism. Reports of opposition within the club then made the rounds. The aim of the critics, who include representatives of the sponsors (“Veltins”, “Böklunder”, “HRS, Stölting” and “Hagedorn”) as well as ex-professional Ingo Anderbrügge and ex-coach Peter Neururer, is the club management to cancel, it was said.

“Many people have come to me and said that an extraordinary general meeting needs to be held. I answered them: I am not available for a revolt,” said Tönnies in an interview with WELT. The 67-year-old meat manufacturer had offered the club help on several occasions – be it in the form of additional sponsorship or guarantees for loans. Tönnies is worried about Schalke, which played regularly in the Champions League in his time – but is currently fighting against relegation in the second division.

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“Schalke can only get back on its feet if we enter into an open dialogue with the people currently involved. We made this offer to sponsors. “Unfortunately there has been no reaction so far,” said Tönnies. He himself is not seeking to return in an official capacity. “I’m not heading back to Schalke. My life plan is different,” he explained.

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