Bayern Munich was nearly moved to Italy as part of audacious relocation plan

Bayern Munich were once nearly moved to Italy as part of an audacious relocation plan following a dispute with the Deutsche Football League (DFL).

The 31-time Bundesliga champions threatened to cut all ties with German football if they were hit with a points deduction for a controversial marketing deal in April 2003. Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed that the club would instead continue to operate in Italy and play in Serie A if they were deducted points for their actions.

Bayern were under investigation from the DFL for receiving a £14.8million cash injection through a secret marketing deal with the KirchMedia group.

Speaking to Bild, Rummenigge threatened: "If there is a verdict that we cannot accept, the consequence would be that we would pull out of all bodies.”

"The Bundesliga will have to see how they go without us. We'll join the league in Italy and play against Milan and Rome. We will not accept a points deduction. That's a question of principle."

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The DFL launched an investigation into the deal in April 2003, as they looked to discover whether the payment had broken the league's principle of central marketing.

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Bayern insisted that no one had been harmed by the payment, although their contract with KirchMedia had ended a year earlier due to the company entering administration.

At the time of the investigation, Bayern were 14 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, with any potential points deduction opening the door to the chasing pack to reignite a title race.

Luckily for German fans, the dispute was later resolved, with Bayern agreeing to pay €3million to settle the issue, meaning they remained a part of the German football pyramid. The club also held on to win the 2002/03 Bundesliga title, their 18th overall, finishing the season 16 points clear of second place Stuttgart.

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