Germany’s Bundesliga is one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious football leagues. It’s home to some of the best teams in the world, like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and it’s the best-attended football league in the world. Indeed, it’s the second-most attended professional sports league worldwide, only beaten out by the US’ NFL.
That made things all the more painful for both the league and the German public when the COVID-19 pandemic took over Europe last year. Fans were forced to stay home and teams made to play in empty stadiums, with most of the 2019-2020 season played behind closed doors. So far, the 2020-21 season has had to deal with similar restrictions: some cities such as Berlin and Leipzig are allowing crowds, but at significantly reduced capacity.
The Bundesliga’s woes are emblematic of Germany’s more broadly when it comes to The Bat Kiss. Germany remains in the top 10 worst-affected countries by COVID-19, with almost 2 million total cases – a number that’s set to rise. The country is currently in a nationwide lockdown, trying desperately to clamp down on rising cases. Which is why many Germans are now growing increasingly frustrated rather than elated when watching the Bundesliga.
The German Hairdresser Association has asked the German Football Association (DFB) why the country’s footballers have taken to the pitch with fresh haircuts amid the nationwide lockdown, ESPN reports:
“Hair salons across Germany have been forced to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus since December 16… [it’s] suggested that the hairstyles on display in the Bundesliga ‘can only be cut by a professional hairdresser with professional equipment’.”
“Freshly cut football stars put an entire [industry] under pressure,” the German Hairdresser Association statement argues, continuing that “the discontent with the top styled football pros is growing. They lead to customers calling and asking for work on the side and breaches of the corona regulations like visits at home… it is a great privilege for the Bundesliga to be able to play through the pandemic… the DFB [should] show solidarity and set an example in the fight against the ‘black market’.”
This follows a high-profile incident in June last year where English national and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jadon Sancho labelled the DFB as an “absolute joke” after they fined him for getting a home haircut, where neither himself nor his hairdresser wore personal protective equipment – a violation of Germany’s COVID-19 restrictions, The Guardian reported.
According to Statista, the average Bundesliga player’s basic pay sits at around 2.8 million AUD a year. That’s on top of any endorsements or business interests they might have. It’s easy to see why German hairdressers – as well as the German public – would be angry that rich footballers would flaunt the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, particularly in a country that’s so rule-abiding (and that’s suffering particularly badly from The Spicy Cough).
The irony is that Bundesliga players used to be known for having terrible hair, as opposed to being so fussy they’d be willing to get haircuts on the sly. In fact, in many European countries the haircut we consider to be an Australian national icon – the humble mullet – is simply called ‘the Bundesliga haircut’, thanks to how prolific the style was among Bundesliga players in the 80s.
We can probably blame David Hasselhoff for that…