Kicking the can down the road – not the football by AndersS
It is one week ago now since I wrote the first article trying to outline the horrible events that are in store. Many took the time to debate the health issues contained in it.
In the week that has gone by, as good as no events have helped to raise optimism. Indeed, many who were sceptical a week ago are now closer to sharing the opinion of those of us who are expecting the worst. The worst in my opinion being that many countries are getting into an Italian-like situation. Unfortunately, I think that is where we are heading, unless some miracle turns up a cure in the next few weeks.
What has happened this last week has been very predictable in many ways. What has surprised me, though, is that to a large degree a big part of the football media, including some on this site, are still thinking the different leagues in the UK and in the rest of Europe can be finished this side of summer. On top of that, discussions and rumours about players transfers also seem to be based on a “return to normal” expectation in the near future.
I am going to stick my neck out here and make a couple of statements…
Forget any thinking about a return to normal in the foreseeable future. The economic impact of this will most likely see many clubs around Europe fighting to survive. I have explained the reasons in the previous articles.
The first will be clubs trying to force players’ salaries down to a much lower level than their contracts say, and “releasing” the players who don’t accept it, can already be assumed. These are just small first warnings. There will be much more to come, including from bigger clubs.
The market situation is changing so rapidly it is hard to grasp. In Arsenal’s case, my totally unqualified guess would be that if we 2 weeks ago had put our entire squad up for sale, we could have collected say 2 billion. If we were to do it today, we couldn’t get 50% of that, and by the time the transfer window arrives it will be much less.
I still maintain that, before this is over we will see even big clubs releasing players for nothing to any club who are willing to pay their salaries.
Much more can be said about this, but it is really not my main point with this article.
Why is it the football media are so much out touch with reality at the moment? I think it has partly to do with the footballing authorities.
As we all know, the official plan is to finish the PL by June 30. This is not going to happen.
I actually think the people behind this timeframe are no fools. They probably also know it won’t happen.
Their problem is, they can’t admit to it. If they were to admit it- i.e. by declaring the season finished or declare it null and void or finished as it stands, it would lay the ground for absolute havoc.
It would be a formal violation of the TV contracts, from which sums of billions are flowing to the league on a regular basis. The violation may not only cost them huge sums for this season, it could also result in many TV companies wanting a renegotiation of the price for the future – in other words a potential much bigger loss on the horizon.
On top of that, declaring the season over now will very likely result in legal battles with clubs, who feel the cancellation has caused them losses.
At the moment, there is no solution to all these problems. But behind the scenes, there must be dialogues between the leagues and the holders of the TV rights, and indeed the sponsors rights etc, and before those dialogues can reach some kind of conclusion, we will see no final decision.
So officially for now the “plan” is to finish by June the 30th, and apparently a large part of the football media continue to “play along” and publish articles about resumption, transfers etc. etc.
A good American expression is that the authorities are simply “kicking the can down the road” at the moment. I wonder, when exactly it will change. Because, change it will.
In the larger scale of things, these problems are just minuscule compared to the “life and death” issues from the virus. Make no mistake, they are also on the forefront of my mind. But I do think, the human race will survive this, and one day, we will see football again.