In Italy, football stopped as Lazio fans were dreaming of ending their two-decade drought for the league title, buoyed by their unbeaten run, which started in September. In England, the Reds (Liverpool) were on the course of ending their three-decade championship drought with a 25-point lead. However, these teams and many others in Europe have had their narrative stuck due to concerns over the current global pandemic.
As the Corona Virus continued spreading across Europe, games were first played in closed stadiums, but they got postponed and subjected to blanket bans in a bid to contain the crisis. Today, the main question is when the players will be ready to make a comeback in the field. However, millions of people are on a lockdown in their houses voluntarily or by government edict.
According to Lars-Christer Olsson, top European leagues are still looking for a way to have the games return amid the ongoing movement restrictions. If safe, matches might be played behind closed doors and broadcasted to people in their homes. According to Olson, people need to help each other and have enough entertainment during this trying time that people are restricted to their homes. However, that will depend on the decisions made by different governments in a bid to contain the ongoing crisis.
A few days ago, the European football governing body (UEFA) postponed their quadrennial championship set to be played this summer. The move was supported by millions of football fans, as it created room for club competitions to go beyond their scheduled time in May, June, and July, or even beyond that.
Last week on Thursday, EPL revealed their commitment towards completing the 2019/2020 season, agreeing to extend the limit for its completion with the permission of the national soccer federation. According to FIFPro general secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, an umbrella body of global players supports the idea, but only when it’s deemed safe to hold matches without fans.
Jonas further added that while the players’ preference would be playing in front of the fans, waiting until that become a reality may not be feasible. Considering the current economic pressure on the industry and the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic, some entities have been forced on the side.
According to Olsson, the coronavirus pandemic is the reason why everyone is putting aside their greed and working together. Nonetheless, restarting the matches in due time to end various competitions might need flexibility and goodwill from the players. However, most of them will be out of a contract if the games extend beyond June.
On Wednesday, FIFA announced they were assessing their rules on player contracts after understanding the need for temporary amendments and dispensation. Additionally, global soccer leaders agreed to create two committees after Tuesday’s conference call, one dealing with complex matters regarding creating a new short term calendar. The other committee will focus on different financial conundrums, including sponsorships, broadcasting contracts, and UEFA’s cost-control regulations.
Following the UEFA estimates, over $300 million will be lost if the Euros are postponed for a year. That could mean less money distributed across the 55 soccer federations. UEFA may have to take care of the loss, reducing the amount disbursed to clubs in Europa and Champions League.