The Covid-19 virus has affected football in Europe since February where games were played behind closed doors and was eventually suspended until further notice. Rumours are moving around suggesting that the Bundesliga as well as the Premier League wish to return in June, however, no one can be certain until we officially hear statements from the sport governing bodies.
So, what has the virus truly affected when it comes to football in particularly Europe? Three factors according to FIFA.com have been impacted greatly, two of which has resulted in FIFA having to change a couple of rules regarding contracts and the transfer window, however, these are not final yet. There are of course many other factors such as market values of players, share values of clubs and more that have been affected, however, for the purpose of this article we will look at the financial losses, the contract problems and, lastly, the transfer season.
- Financially, clubs have taken a big hit. For over more than a month the top 5 leagues have not played a football match in front of a full stadium, resulting in millions of Euros not coming in on a monthly basis. How does that affect the club precisely? The money that is made from weekend fixtures are often used to pay the weekly salaries of the players, the expenses of the facility, such as cleaning up the rubbish that is left behind in the stadium and making sure the pitch is perfect for the next match. Picture the financial stress major clubs are under, such as Manchester United who according to SPORTAC has to pay David De Gea and Paul Pogba roughly 300 000 pounds each per week. That’s an estimated 2.4 million pounds per month just for these two players alone and no weekly income coming for the fixtures to pay these salaries… For how long can these clubs continue to fulfil the legal payments to their players with no weekly league fixtures or other tournaments?
- Player contracts have been affected by the delay of the season and the uncertainty of when it will return. Usually when clubs sign a player, a contract will state dates (beginning of season to end of season) for which the player is bound to the club. Now that few of the league seasons have been extended, will the player contracts also be extended, for how long and will players have a say in the extension? Looking at Chelsea Winger Willian as an example, his contract ends the 30th of June 2020 and he has spoken openly about wanting to leave the club. With the potential extension of the season, will Willian really want to spend a few extra weeks/months than what he originally signed up for at a club he no longer really wishes to be at? He could use that time to pursue the transfer rumours, that Arsenal and Tottenham are interested in him, and have more time to get the negotiations and document work done.
- This then leads to our last section where the transfer window will be discussed. With some clubs having ended their seasons, such as the Ere Divisie, Ligue 1 and Jupiler Pro League, how will the transfer season work for these leagues and those that are extending their seasons? This leaves questions as to when the dates will be established and for which leagues. In addition, due to the huge financial impact of the virus, it has left many clubs with less financial means to make transfers. This leaves players with less of a chance to go to a new club and the negotiations that could have been initiated throughout the season resulting in nothing.
We at Evytal are very interested to see how the rest of this season will play out and how the future of football and sports in general will change after this pandemic. Will FIFA look at the transfer seasons or contracts differently after this season and what changes will be made? As football lovers, we are looking forward to the day when we can watch and enjoy the sport we love again, whether it is at home on tv or in the stadiums themselves.