Help is on the way for struggling Borussia Dortmund

  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 20 Feb 2005

FRANKFURT: Struggling Borussia Dortmund (BVB) said on Friday it had agreed with its creditors on a rescue plan, a day after the club sent shock waves through soccer-mad Germany by saying it could go bankrupt. 

“The agreement requires that the fund investors approve the proposed restructuring for the Westfalen stadium,” the company said in a statement, calling the agreement a “further important step towards realizing the rescue plan.” 

Germany's only listed soccer club, an almost-100-year-old household name, is threatened with insolvency should it fail to get help from banks amid record losses and debts. 

In Dortmund, Borussia officials met for the first time with almost all the banks involved to discuss a rescue plan. 

“I think this will help to get the two creditors involved who haven't said yes yet,” said Jochen Roelfs, an auditor appointed by the club to help with the overhaul, adding that talks were expected to continue until next week. 

The club received a debt moratorium until 2006/07 and short-term loans to help pay salaries for players. 

However, it still needs to buy back its Westfalen stadium, for which it has failed to pay rent since the start of the year. 

Handelsblatt business paper said Borussia needed 10 million euros (US$13 million) until the end of the 2004/05 season. 

Meanwhile, Schalke 04, one of Borussia's fiercest local rivals on the pitch, offered to help. 

“Dortmund's end would be a catastrophe for the whole Bundesliga. We would help any time,” Chief Executive Rudi Assauer told Bild. 

Bayern Munich, the country's most successful soccer club, has also offered to help, an offer which Borussia management so far has refused.  

Borussia shares closed up 3.2 percent at 2.26 euros after plunging 28 percent on Thursday. The stock is worth only a fraction of its debut price in 2000. 

Independent Research analysts cut their investment view to "sell" from "buy" and lowered their price target for the stock to 1.8 euros from 3.5 euros, saying the club had so far achieved "almost nothing" in its restructuring plans. – Reuters  

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