By now, most people understand that we are in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in many years. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the highly infectious virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that many people are now becoming familiar with. While I highly recommend readers learn more about COVID-19 and its seriousness, this blog post will not be dealing with this—instead, I will be looking at the effects of COVID-19 on the world of football. For those interested in learning a bit more about the disease, I highly recommend the following informational video (stay informed!):
But back to football. As followers of the various football leagues probably know by now, play has been postponed nearly globally. While initially many of the leagues discussed the possibility of playing in empty stadiums, the increased severity and escalation of COVID-19 had pushed all the leagues to reconsider. The English Premier League was initially supposed to only be postponed to April 3rd, but the suspension has recently been ‘extended indefinitely’ with the earliest possible date to come back set for April 30th . La Liga has been postponed indefinitely , the Bundesliga has been postponed to at least April 2nd, Ligue 1 has been postponed to at least June 15th , and Serie A has been postponed to at least April 3rd . Even outside of the major leagues, major competitions such as the European Championship (Euro 2020) and the Copa America have been postponed an entire year, both slated to pick back up in the summer of 2021 . In short, it’s going to be a while before football is back.
This postponement is not just inconvenient for the fans, but also is taking a large toll on football clubs and organizations. Without the ability to play games, many clubs are finding themselves in a rough situation that is only getting rougher the longer they have to go without playing games. Bernard Caiazzo, the president of Saint-Etienne’s supervisory board, said, ‘”I am very, very, very worried for all the clubs… Without state aid, within six months, half of professional clubs will have to file for bankruptcy. The five major leagues have already lost €4 billion and the French league between €500m and €600m”’ . While there is no doubt that football will eventually come back, the economic effects of COVID-19 are undeniable and paint a somewhat uncertain picture of the future of some football clubs. While many of these clubs are losing massive amounts of money, chances are that the largest and most famous clubs will still come out okay in the end, but one has to wonder what will happen to many of the smaller clubs that suddenly find themselves bankrupt and without a way to pay their players and staff. The economic effects of COVID-19 could be a blog post just in itself, but instead I will leave this video that I recommend:
Aside from the postponements and the economic impacts, football is a game revolving around people, and football players and managers have proven themselves to be far from invincible during this pandemic. Already, famous figures such as Mikel Arteta, Paulo Dybala, and a number of others have tested positive for COVID-19 (see this link for an up to date list . Even more serious, just this last weekend, Lorenzo Sanz, former Real Madrid president who helped steer the club to two Champions League titles, passed away due to the virus . On a lighter note, 18 of the top teams from La Liga came together virtually this past weekend as players competed in a competition on the popular video game FIFA. Marco Asensio ended up bringing home the win for Real Madrid, and this online tournament raised over $150,000 for COVID-19 relief.
What do you think of the future of football? Do you think the football clubs and organizations should do anything different in relation to COVID-19? Leave your thoughts down below! Stay safe and remember to wash your hands.