Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has accused English clubs of effectively “kidnapping” young players from overseas.
Bayern are set to open a new youth academy in the north of Munich next summer, and Rummenigge has declared he would have “moral reservations” about filling it with youngsters from outside Germany.
“We don’t want to bring some 10 or 11-year-old to Munich like the English do,” he said in comments published in the club’s magazine. “You could almost speak of kidnapping with them and I would have moral reservations about that.”
Rummenigge says the club’s focus will not be on overseas targets but on those closer to home in Munich, Bavaria and beyond.
“Our priority will certainly be Germany and Bavaria,” he said. “Our future talented players will much rather come from Rosenheim than Rio.”
Bayern have a history of nurturing homegrown talent, with the likes of Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger coming through the ranks in recent years. Rummenigge, though, hopes the new academy will revive the club’s production line which he admitted had “lost a bit of ground, nationally and internationally” in that area.
Rummenigge has become increasingly critical of English clubs in recent seasons, arguing that the financial advantages they enjoy, courtesy of the domestic TV deals, threatens the balance of European football. It was the growing financial muscle of the Premier League, he argued, which was the principal motivation behind the recent revamping of the Uefa Champions League.