During these uncertain times it's so important that we take a serious look at the bigger picture. Staying safe, keeping our families healthy, and taking one day at a time. Social distancing is imperative and so are government health and safety guidelines. So far COVID 19 has and is still having a detrimental affect on the world's population. It's slowly but surely worked its way through most continents on planet earth. This invisible disease also known as The Coronavirus has turned our world upside, and i'm pretty sure our generation will never be the same again.
Unfortunately, their will be businesses that we will never see again and some cases football clubs. So, one of big questions is, how is COVID 19 affecting football? The long and short of it is, we dont really know until the coronavirus is no longer active. But for now, its had a major impact on the world sport and football in general. So far some of the major sporting tournaments have been canceled these include Euro 2020, The Olympics, World Darts, Formula 1, The Grand National, Crickets T20 to name but a few. Its cost the world of sport billions of pounds and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
So where do we go from here and how do we get back to normal?
The impact is going to be catastrophic and will affect the Premier League, The Championship, League One, League Two and the National League, it will also have a filter through and have a major impact the UK Grassroot Football. The one major effect will be finance or should i say a lack of it. Even the biggest club in the world can't stay self sufficient for long periods of time and at some point major cuts will have to be made. This will include staff being released from their contracts and players wages being sliced by two thirds?
The Premier League has by far the largest wage bill in world football. The games are watched worldwide, with many TV companies and franchises paying into the league. Not only that, each club has its very own multi-million pound sponsorship deals. These will include kit deals ground ownership and TV rights from SKY Sports, BT Sports and now the Amazon Prime. With no football being played, these TV companies won't be paying their £200k per match to the each home team. It also means people that the viewers at home are slowly starting to cancelling the subscription fees to said TV companies, and so the knock on effect starts.
The Championship has a large number of Ex Premier League stars playing in it week in week out. It also has an array of upcoming talent on loan from a wide range of bigger european clubs from Spain, France and Germany. These may be Academy products with great futures ahead of them that need game time or first team football experience. Unfortunately, these players dont come cheap. The weekly wage of the average championship football player is around £23k a week or a lot higher for those Ex Premier League stars. The bigger the club the bigger the wage bill and if the club shop isn't open (due to COVID 19) how are fans going to buy the clubs star strikers shirt?
League One and Two rely strongly on gates receipts, this means their turnstiles have to be open to their fans. Most clubs are family oriented which means family days out collecting points (home and away) and most of all memories for the whole family to share. With no football being played, fans can't buy tickets, merchandise or food. With this in mind, most of the local businesses around the ground will also lose out from the visiting home and away fans.
The National League is very similar to League One and League Two but with less financial security. The clubs in this league are classed as part time. This includes players as well as staff, so promotion to the EFL is classed as the promised land. This means these clubs can have a sustainable youth academy that can help feed the first team for many years to come. Gaining promotion out of National League will help create full-time employment and help change the lives of everyone employed by the club. However, with no football being played this just can not happen.
Grassroot Football will be majorly impacted on for years to come. What most people dont realise is, the average grassroot club is self sufficient when it comes to making money and staying afloat. One of the most common ways for a grassroots club to make money for kit, club tracksuits, and equipment etc, is to host its own local summer football tournament. This can include many other grassroot clubs paying a fee to play, sales from BBQ's, drinks, raffles, and even inflatable rides. The average tournament can make a club between £2000 - £5000 each. Which is a huge injection of funds to start the season off. However, these kind of events certainly can not go ahead while COVID 19 is active. So in years to come and with fewer grassroots clubs around than usual, academy scouts won't be able scout players to bring into professional clubs. Professional clubs won't be able to develop these players into first team players? or they might, but a lot less players coming through the professional ranks. And let's not even mention not winning a world cup since 1966.
So, to put all of the above points into perspective and believe me this article is only just scratching the surface with points of how COVID 19 is affecting football in the UK and around the world. Let's all stay safe and healthy so our beautiful game can be played and enjoyed yet again from Grassroots all the way upto the English Premier League and beyond.