Since the beginning of March, ex-international Michael Koch has been the new managing director and sports director for the basketball Bundesliga club Gießen 46ers. The European champion from 1993 has to lead his club through the corona crisis. Koch demands "wise and clever decisions".
Gießen (dpa) - On April 27, the basketball Bundesliga decides in a video slot about the further course of the season in the corona crisis. Former international Michael Koch, manager and sports director at the Gießen 46ers since March 1, demands a decision from the league.
"Another non-statement by the BBL will be difficult," said the 54-year-old European champion from 1993 in an interview with the German Press Agency. "We will support the scenario that will help us make ends meet." Play in the BBL has been suspended since mid-March.
Before the decision of the basketball Bundesliga on Monday - what is the situation in Gießen?
Michael Koch: We're in limbo right now because we don't know exactly where the train is going. We are eagerly waiting to find out how to proceed. The BBL must finally make a decision so that the clubs can plan - also for the next season. A further non-statement by the BBL will be difficult.
Which decision would be the right one?
Koch: It's difficult to say. For the small clubs, also for us, it's about how we are financially least burdened. The league was not on the same level before the break. Many clubs still have up to ten home games. For some only four, like for us. We were lucky there - but there is also a huge lack of income. It is extremely important for us financially to get through the summer months. We will therefore support the scenario with which we can make ends meet.
What would be the best scenario?
Koch: The handball players have just stopped their season, the soccer players want to try ghost games. The basketball players will be guided by these decisions. But you have to keep in mind that football lives extremely from TV money, it is about completely different sums. In handball, ice hockey and basketball, TV revenues are not as exorbitant as in football. We finance ourselves very much through local sponsorship, season tickets and stuff like that. That's why it's a question of options.
What are the options?
Koch: Ghost games, the end of the season and games at three different locations were discussed. The main topic will be: In which scenario are the clubs charged and how. You have to make a wise and a clever decision.
What would be the smart decision for you personally?
Koch: I am an athlete and I played for Panathinaikos in front of 20,000 spectators. And also in halls where there were only a few spectators. We are entertainers, we offer entertainment. And viewers are simply part of it. I am curious to see whether this can be implemented in football by leaving the fans out. Spectators are simply part of the sport.
So would the end of the season be the best option for you?
Koch: Again, it's about the best option. It may be that a season break hurts a lot more than games without an audience. It's not about what I would do or what would be the best way for me. I am the managing director of a BBL association, and I have to see that the association stays alive, that my heart keeps beating.
How difficult is it for an athlete to motivate himself to play ghost games?
Koch: I always compare it to the Summer League - the first game is at eight in the morning. Then you see who wants to play basketball, who has character, to tear himself up in such games. Maybe you can do that once or twice. But if there are 14 games left to play, that's a Herculean task. Players will then just close. A level like a league game with many spectators will never be reached in ghost games.
Also because many teams have already sent their legionnaires home?
Koch: We were one of the first clubs to send players home. And that was right because we saved costs. Otherwise the situation would be much more difficult. We are in constant contact with our Americans. If the league started and the travel restrictions were lifted, the players would come back. We would then be competitive. But it may also be that we and many clubs will no longer play with the team as we did in March.
If the season is canceled, should a champion be chosen?
Koch: I think the statisticians would be happy if there was a master. But let's be honest: the master this year will always be called the Corona Master. And be marked with an asterisk forever. This championship is not the same as a championship won under normal circumstances.
Would you reject such a title?
Koch: Everyone has to decide for themselves. The handball players from Kiel were happy that they became champions. This is then sold to the public. The appreciation of such a title would remain with me in the bottom drawer. This is certainly the case with many other athletes. Nobody wants a corona title.
Personal information: Michael Koch (54) has been manager and sports director of the national basketball team JobStairs Giessen 46ers since March 1st. The European champion from 1993 is one of the most successful German basketball players. He started his Bundesliga career in Gießen, the 140-time international won six championships with Leverkusen and Bayreuth. With Panathinaikos Athens he was a champion four times and won the European Cup in 2000. As a trainer, Koch sat on the bench in Bonn, Bayreuth and Limassol / Cyprus.
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