China no option for Dortmund as SIPG link to Hamburg

Dortmund's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke (pictured) has said they will "never" get a Chinese investor, after Bundesliga rivals Hamburg announced a partnership with Shanghai SIPG (AFP Photo/Sascha Schuermann) (AFP/File)

Berlin (AFP) - Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said they will not be tempted by Chinese investment in the future, whilst Bundesliga rivals Hamburg announced on Wednesday a partnership with Shanghai SIPG.

"You can get a Chinese investor, as Atletico Madrid has done. But we will never go down this route," Watzke told weekly newspaper Die Zeit.

"We'll do it the hard way. In order to grow ourselves over the next 10 years, we'll do things like we have done in the last 10 years.

"Since 2006, we have increased our sales by around 500 percent."

In April, Forbes put Dortmund's revenue at 231 million euros ($338m) with an operating income of 44 million euros, as they build on their status as Germany's second-best club behind Bayern Munich.

Watzke's reluctance to turn to big-spending foreign investors, and his cautious approach to finances in general, comes after he played a key role in pulling Dortmund back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2005.

Borussia are back in the Champions League this season after a year's absence and have splashed out a reported 109.8 million euros on eight new signings for the 2016/17 season.

The figure exceeds the 89.5 million euros Dortmund made in selling Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich, Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United.

Watzke explained why Dortmund opted for a pre-season tour of China last month, which included a 4-1 win over Manchester United in Shanghai.

"We want to swim with the big fish," he explained.

"If you want to do that, you have to have a presence in Asia and this year we had a valuable offer to play in China against Manchester United and Manchester City.

"Anyone who knows how important the Premier League is in Asia will know what it means to have a 4-1 win there over Manchester United."

While Dortmund are taking a stance against Far Eastern investment, Hamburg are happy to work alongside Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG, coached by ex-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The basis of the deal is for Hamburg to offer their expertise and experience to help SIPG, who were only founded in 2005, develop their academy and coaching staff.

"Hamburg is a traditional club which has played in one of the strongest leagues in the world for over 50 years. Using this vast experience, we can benefit in building our young club," said SIPG president Sui Guoyang.

SIPG finished second in the Chinese Super League in 2015 and have Brazilians Hulk and Elkeson in their side.

Emphasising what Dortmund's Watzke stated, Hamburg's marketing director Joachim Hilke expressed the importance of having a presence in the lucrative Chinese market.

"China is on the way to developing professional football and this brings enormous potential for the Bundesliga and Hamburg," said Hilke.