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The new outbreak of the Corona virus has caused near-complete paralysis, albeit temporary, at the level of football club competitions in Europe starting this week, which raises questions about the great financial damage that the first popular sport will suffer.
By Friday evening, the five major tournaments (England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) had announced the suspension of matches that usually fill the weekend schedule, for varying periods, as were other tournaments such as Portugal and the Netherlands … as well as postponed the continental union (WIFA) ) Next week’s matches in the Champions League and “Europa League” competitions, and called for a meeting Tuesday to discuss their fate, and the fate of its most important team, the European Cup, which is scheduled to be held between June 12 and July 12 in 12 cities.
Initially, the national championships held matches without an audience, which also affected the two continental competitions. But with the expansion of the “Covid-19” patch, which has become a global epidemic by the World Health Organization, and the great restrictions imposed by many countries on the movement of travel, football authorities found themselves obliged to impose a comprehensive suspension until at least early April.
The initial decision to continue the competitions in the absence of the fans did not satisfy many of the football players, including the French coach, Andre Fiyach-Bouach, the French club of Marseille, who said, “In my opinion, all competitions must be suspended.”
“In China (where the virus is the primary focus), they have taken on more responsibility than in Europe,” he added.
But the economic and financial reality is beginning to impose itself on the clubs of the old continent who spend huge amounts of money on football teams, and rely heavily on the revenues of matches, fans and television broadcasting rights.
“Ultimately, it is about how professional football is financed,” said Karl-Heinz-Rummenigge, chief executive of Bayern Munich, the German champions in the past seven seasons, when asked if it would be better to stop playing the game in Germany for the remainder of the season. Present.
“If you don’t get paid from the TV carriers, many small and medium clubs will have problems with liquidity,” he added.
– “Dangerous complications” –
According to a study by the Spanish “Cuban” radio, the League clubs that announced this week the suspension of at least two phases, will lose a total of 600 million euros (665 million US dollars) if no other matches are held this season.
This will greatly affect the clubs, especially small and medium-sized ones that do not have significant financial capabilities or huge sponsorship contracts. It is feared that the economic impact of this will extend beyond football, as sport contributes 1.4 percent of the gross domestic product in Spain, according to figures published by the League.
In England, where television broadcasting contracts are among the most expensive in the world, it is expected that the Premier League clubs will be able to bear the losses that may be caused by stopping the games for a short period, but the biggest impact will affect the three lowest-ranking clubs, whose competitions were also postponed, such as the Women’s League matches.
“It is different for clubs outside the Premier League” as it mainly depends on the revenues from attending matches and commercial activities, while a small part of Its revenue is from the media, “he said, referring to broadcasters.
He added, “This (stop) will cause dangerous financial repercussions” that may reach the limits of the risk of bankruptcy for some clubs.
North of England, the situation looks even worse for Scotland’s clubs, where large TV contracts are virtually absent, and clubs face the prospect of a severe financial squeeze if matches are stopped long.
Channels are forced to adapt.
The next hiatus will be a test for the various parties to the game who have found themselves in front of a scenario that no one could have imagined. After floundering in the early days of deferring matches and keeping others, or preventing fans from attending, the option was decided to delay the stages temporarily rather than setting them up in front of empty stands, which would lose the game a lot of its luster and enthusiasm for players and viewers alike.
What could reassure the clubs, at least, is that broadcast television contracts and their revenues will find their way to their coffers sooner or later, and will somehow make up for the absence of matches and stadium revenues throughout the layoff.
Nevertheless, economic concerns remain a key player in the corridors.
“The actual direct problem is the flow of liquidity because none of them (broadcasting revenue) will come at least a month ago. Here we will see which clubs are well managed and have a sound economic model,” says French club president Jean-Pierre Caillou. The difficult financial stage.
For the time being, television channels that have committed themselves to paying large sums of money find themselves without ongoing matches to broadcast live on the air, and deliver them to subscribers who have already paid subscriptions for this service.
And along the old continent and beyond, these channels will have to adapt according to the needs of the situation in the coming days and weeks.
The French club general manager Didier Coyo says that the two partner channels of the French championship, “BN Sports” and “Canal Plus”, “support the decision (suspension of matches). We are in an exceptional situation and the carriers understand this.”
© 2020 AFP