Coronavirus has been a seismic event for the whole world and football has been no different in experiencing the shockwaves…
1. SEASON’S END
The big leagues in Europe have battled back to action but for many divisions the virus killed off promotion hopes and consigned teams to relegation, denying players the opportunity to seal their fate on the pitch. In the English game, the WSL was called off altogether and leagues one and two fast-forwarded to the play-off stage.
2. PLAYERS IN LIMBO
The extension of the season into June, July and even August has placed many players’ careers on a knife edge. With most contracts expiring on 30 June, the neat separation of seasons has led to short-term fixes and for some pros to miss out on deals altogether. Other players have chosen not to extend their contract in the short term and have signalled their intention not to play and risk injury before a potential transfer deal.
3. FANS SHUT OUT
Supporters are the lifeblood of the game. But with matches played behind closed doors and no way to gather publicly to support the team, the game has been eerily silent. Liverpool fans are still coming to terms with the bittersweet feeling of seeing their title drought end in empty stadia.
4. CUP SPRINT
Squeezing in domestic and European cup competitions around an already manic fixture schedule has led to creative solutions from the game’s governing bodies. The FA Cup resumed in June at the quarter-final stage with the final set for 1 August. The Champions League will be settled in a 12-day tournament in Portugal from 12-23 August. The Europa League tournament will take place from 5-21 August in Germany. And the Women’s Champions League games are being held in Bilbao between 21-30 August.
5. INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
The women’s game has been hit hardest by delays to international tournaments. The two major showpieces of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Euro 2021, hosted by England, have been put back a year. The men’s Euros - set to have taken place across the continent this summer - is delayed until 2021.
6. MONEY WORRIES
There are fears for the solvency of clubs up and down the country as we begin to count the cost of Covid-19. And with possible further waves of the virus preventing supporters from attending games, things could get worse. Despite the billions involved, the Premier League has not been exempt from the financial crunch. Topflight clubs have been faced with a potential £1bn hole in their balance sheets through lost revenue - largely as a result of forfeited money due from broadcasters. Project Restart helped alleviate the financial pressures.
7. GLOBAL IMPACT
World players’ union FIFPro has seen record numbers of professionals around the world claiming for unpaid wages as a result of Covid-19. Players unions in Latin America and Africa have even had to hand out food to players who have been left with salaries slashed or unpaid.
8. FINANCIAL FAIRPLAY
UEFA have temporarily flexed the rules on financial fairplay by enabling clubs to adjust their break-even calculation. This should help to keep the game’s financial wheels turning.
9. CHARITY CHALLENGE
There has been a huge push to support good causes within the game. But some charities are having to adjust to the new normal. For example, Soccer Aid went online to become eSoccerAid in June.