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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
Fears of German football crisis ease
Hamburg and Bayern Munich players
Some German football clubs rely on TV rights payments
The German government has been told there is no need to bail out national football clubs threatened by the collapse of the Kirch media empire.

The government had said it was prepared to support clubs with credit guarantees if Kirch collapsed and was unable to pay what it owed.

Now the opposition leader, Edmund Stoiber, has said it is likely Kirch will be able to make television rights payments to the German football league.

Mr Stoiber told Bild newspaper that even though Kirch was on the verge of declaring itself bankrupt, it would be able to make a 100m euro (62m; $88m) payment to the football clubs in May.

Safety net

TV rights payments from Kirch make up more than half the income for some German football clubs.

The firm's KirchMedia business has the television rights to Bundesliga matches until 2004.

The German government was considering creating a 200m euro (123m; $176m) financial guarantee fund to prevent football clubs from being dragged down by the widely anticipated collapse of KirchMedia.

If Kirch found it could not make the May payments, the government might have to revive its plan.

Political implications

Kirch's problems have become an election issue.

Germany's chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, is a keen football fan, anxious to see the country's football clubs survive.

His main rival for the German chancellorship in September's elections is the opposition leader and governor of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber.

Kirch's biggest creditor is Bayerische Landesbank, which is half owned by Mr Stoiber's state government.

See also:

05 Apr 02 | Business
Banks prepare for Kirch collapse
03 Apr 02 | Business
Q&A: Kirch's insolvency
03 Apr 02 | Business
ITV Digital set for showdown
04 Apr 02 | Business
Kirch insolvency fears grow
28 Mar 02 | Business
Kirch holds breath as talks break up
27 Mar 02 | Business
Berlusconi firm 'abandons' Kirch
26 Mar 02 | Business
Kirch empire nears break-up
20 Mar 02 | Europe
German media giant sheds jobs
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