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Coronavirus will cause transfer market to collapse - German football chief

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Bundesliga chief convinced transfer market will collapse (2:02)

New York Times reporter Tariq Panja discusses his interview with Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert. (2:02)

The CEO of the German football league (DFL) has predicted the transfer market will collapse this summer because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Bundesliga teams returned to training this week but are only training in smaller groups in accordance with the social distancing rules and the league hopes to return to action in May -- the first major league to do so -- as soon as the situation allows.

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Plans are being developed to stage matches without fans and to reduce the amount of people on site at the 36 locations of the upper two tiers in Germany and, should the Bundesliga finish before June 30 clubs could then focus on the summer transfer window, but that could lead to more headaches due to the financial difficulties some clubs find themselves in because of the coronavirus.

"In the short term, I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse," DFL CEO Christian Seifert told The New York Times. "Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven."

Sources told ESPN that Seifert's attack on the agents were way off the mark as those representing players make their cut by their annual percentage on their client's salaries rather than the one-time bonuses for transfers.

However, former Bayern president Uli Hoeness said in March that transfer fees would significantly drop once the market opens.

"The current situation is a threat, but also a chance to change the coordinates," Hoeness said. "You can't dictate it, but transfer fees in excess of €100 million will be a thing of the past for the next few years.

"The transfer fees will drop and will not return to the current level in the next two, three years. All countries are affected. There will most likely be a new footballing world."

That was echoed by Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, who said he believed that few big deals will happen.