The Bundesliga is well-placed to weather the storm that is about to engulf European football
With no nefarious owners or dubious investors, German football stands alone in European football. Which is exactly why it is well-placed to see out the storm that is coming.
I’m currently rewatching Game of Thrones from start to finish. Considering the manner in which the show somewhat imploded towards the end of its run, I never thought I’d go back to it. The finale left me angry, frustrated and honestly quite bitter towards the way I’d been hooked in by George R. R. Martin’s initial writing, only to then be chewed up and spat out by some Hollywood screenwriters that didn’t know what they were doing. But my wife had always wanted to watch it. So here we are.
On second viewing there are a few characters and plots that intrigue me more than they did the first time around. Perhaps none more so than the Iron Bank of Braavos. Which, if you haven’t seen the show or read the books, is basically this fantasy world’s version of the IMF or the World Bank. They’re dull, boring and entirely driven by reason. As Tycho Nestoris, the only real character from the institution that we meet in the show, puts it: “Across the Narrow Sea, your books are filled with words like ‘usurper’ and ‘madman’ and ‘blood right.’ Here, our books are filled with numbers. We prefer the stories they tell.” And in many ways he and the company he represents reminds me of the Bundesliga.
Indeed, in the fast-paced world of football it’s not hard to view the Bundesliga as a little boring. To be clear, I’m not talking about the actual football on show. But rather the marketing, broadcasting and all-round committee-run feel of the league. For example, the Bundesliga didn’t grant itself its very own logo until 1996 and while some in the league’s HQ would disagree entirely with this comment, I’d suggest that it hasn’t actually changed at all since then. European football may spin at ever-increasing speeds, but German football prides itself on staying still. Let the Premier League have its dubious owners, let La Liga have its mad men and let Serie A have its usurpers. The Bundesliga prefers a more logical approach to the beautiful game.
However, this isn’t a roast of the German top-flight. Far from it. In fact, the league’s prudent approach to fiscal responsibility and loyalty to its core product - the fans themselves - may ultimately prove to be a winning strategy in the long run when we consider the current state of European football.
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