COVID-19 and the Tough Days for English Football

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Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has not just killed lives and infected over 500,000 people, it has halted businesses, organisations and government institutions across the world. One of the sectors of the world that is worst hit by the pandemic is football.

Since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), all the major leagues in the world have postponed their football season till the pandemic is contained.

In the case of the Premier League in England, the league was postponed until April 30th where it is believed the pandemic would have been contained and normalcy would have retained on the streets and homes of the Queen’s country.

Even if the coronavirus pandemic is contained at the projected time, there are a couple of worries for the management of the Premier League, English Football League and the Football Association as a whole.

Before then, the biggest dilemma is how to cushion the effect of the forced break which has negatively impacted the revenues of clubs as there are no longer tickets sales, revenue from sponsorship deals, pay television and other loyalties that come with live matches.

“Difficult decisions will have to be taken” to counter the financial impact of coronavirus on English football, said the Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers‘ Association (PFA).

A joint statement issued recently by the Premier League, EFL and the PFA, said the league can only resume when it is safe and conditions are favourable. This means that the April 30th resumption date is not sacrosanct.

“We have agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions,” the joint statement stated.

The Fate of English Football after April 3 Meeting

EFL and other stakeholders are expected to meet on April 3, 2020, to examine the impact of the forced break and the possibility of resuming as earlier scheduled. However, one of the expected resolutions of the meeting could be a further extension of the presumption date based on the increasing number of people that are being tested positive for the virus.

The stakeholders’ meeting would also serve as an avenue for “formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans“.

Besides the possible extension to the April 30th resumption date, when clubs owners meet with other stakeholders of the leagues in England, there could be a possible resolution of the imposition of pay cuts on players, managers are other backroom staffs of clubs just like in some clubs in Bundesliga.

Another thing that could be on the table for discussion is the fate of Liverpool winning the league or forfeiting the opportunity of doing so if the stakeholders decide to declare the outgoing season null and void.