As Boris Johnson addressed the nation, he confirmed it could be up to another 6 months until the UK will even start planning for fans being allowed back into football stadiums like the Emirates.
While many owners (and hopefully Arsenal) would have spent the summer budgeting for the worst-case scenario, clubs in the lower Leagues will now be worrying about their futures.
While it might make Arsenal even more reluctant to spend in this transfer window, that’s nothing compared to the worries of those in League One and League Two right now.
I can understand their frustrations and as I have written many times since the Pandemic, you don’t wish any business to lose money and if there is a way flexibility can help, then of course people should try and adapt.
The Premier League has responded with a statement claiming the decision would have a ‘devastating impact’ on clubs and communities.
“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them,” the Premier League said. “Last season, Premier League clubs suffered 700 million pounds in losses and at present, our national game is losing more than 100 million pounds per month. This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities.”
Meanwhile Rick Parry, the chairman of the EFL has said, “EFL clubs lost £50m last season as a result of playing matches behind closed doors or curtailing the season and stand to lose a further £200m in 2020-21 should we be required to play the whole season without supporters in grounds,”
While I understand why they would be not happy I don’t understand what they want the government to do.
It’s almost like they are asking for death rates and statistics to be ignored and the country to just get on with things to save some money.
You don’t get into politics by being emotionally blackmailed. If every decision during this Pandemic was based on the priority being saving jobs and businesses, then it would be a poor country to live in.
Of course it’s not ideal. Unemployment has increased. Where I live In Wales, we have our own lockdown restrictions which again means I can’t visit my family in England, or they come to me.
That could mean Christmas on my own. Yet I got my health. If you lost your job because of Covid, you got your health. Bad times don’t last forever. We will live to tell this story.
I will see my family again. You will work again. Others have lost their parents, grandparents, friends, uncles, aunties, etc. You don’t get that back.
Health has got to be the priority right now. The public’s safety and well-being cannot be compromised just because those in sport want their match day revenue.
The counter argument those in the game are making is they have not been given a chance to demonstrate they can host an event to crowds in a safe environment. Many clubs feel they have put action plans in place which strictly respect current guidelines and therefore consider going to a stadium is as safe (if not more) then spending your afternoon at a pub. They just want an opportunity to prove it can be done.
You have to remember those claiming all of this have cash in their eyes which makes it impossible for them to be objective. Their argument is flawed.
Nobody is disputing that it can be organised for fans to sit apart at the Emirates. Nobody is questioning that you couldn’t have staff taking temperatures and giving hand sanitizer at the turnstiles. Of course you could pay someone where their job is purely to observe that everybody is wearing a mask at all times.
What you can’t cater for are…….idiots…
While you can control what a mass gathering does inside your stadium, you can’t give assurances to their behaviour once they exit the venue.
Will they respect social distancing?
Will they go straight home?
Will they hover in large groups?
Will fans without a ticket show up?
Will that see ‘bubbles’ bigger more than six overwhelm local bars and restaurants?
How many times do you see after a match, people act on a tube how they wouldn’t any other day?
So if owners feel they should be trusted to at least have a trial run, well don’t be disappointed with those in Downing street, be disappointed with ………your own supporters.
This isn’t me picking on Liverpool but it’s an obvious example.
Remember back in March when those in parliament wanted fixtures to resume at neutral venues to avoid the temptation of supporters showing up at their grounds. Liverpool were cited as a concerns as they were about to win their first title in 30 years, so naturally celebrations outside Anfield needed to be considered as high risk.
Do you remember the answer given to those in favour of ‘Project restart?’
How snobbish of MP’s to assume that Football supporters were incapable of following rules. What happened? Not just did thousands fill the whole city streets, they were aiming fireworks at buildings.
So if you were in charge, would you, at a time when you have other institutions putting the pressure on because they too are losing income, just gamble that everyone is going to behave on Matchdays?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s the minority. But my stance is if one person gets the virus because they went to a game of football, that’s one too many. Cases are increasing, if someone became ill (or worse) at a football match, that would be on my conscience.
Readers in the past have questioned the odds of that actually happening. Just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean you do it if it can be avoided.
If you don’t wash hands after the toilet and shake someone’s hand, the odds are that person won’t die, but I bet you still wash your hands? (well I hope so).
The idea of me or you are putting our welfare on the line to make millionaires richer is the Premiership’s plan B.
Plan A is convincing Oliver Dowden to sign off on some emergency funding, money that could be supporting the NHS, the homeless, care homes, etc.
Remember how I once wrote the Premiership could push fans away if they are not sensitive towards how they handle this crisis?
The Culture Secretary met representatives of major sports this week and while ‘he’s working with them’, it is privately believed that the Premiership is not top of the list of those who are in need of a bail out. Nor should they be.
In fact when hearing the stories of how various League One and Two clubs could become extinct, the answer seems to be there is enough money in the Prem to loan down to the divisions.
I don’t say this often about any Prime Minister but I kind of see his point.
If a Chelsea can splash out over 200 million, Liverpool 70m, or United 40m on one player, Man City 40m on defender who was relegated, Aston Villa 28m on a Championship Striker, Everton 50m, Newcastle 30m, ( I could go on ) then surely between them they could help out their brothers and sisters at the lower levels?
If they want to be ruthless and say it’s not their problem, then that’s their prerogative, but it’s then double standards for you to expect help. You can’t have it both ways ……..
Could you Imagine if Mr Johnson was seen giving money to Stan Kroenke, but then a hospital is understaffed?
What About It Gooners?
You won’t be back watching Football live till March at the earliest. Right or wrong Decision?
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