I am VERY excited to be podding with Nigel Phillips of the AST today. We’re talking the economics of football in a Covid-19 world. You will want to tune in.
This blog is the warm-up piece, we’re going to do some light stretches to get your mind focused on what’s to come.
The Premier League is still pushing hard to finish the 92 games.
The really want that TV money.
There are some mad suggestions, but none crazier than TV EVENT OF THE CENTURY coming this June or July.
Send all the teams to the midlands. Isolate them. Force them to play all the games over the course of a month behind closed doors.
Apparently the Government like the idea, they know everyone will be climbing the walls by then, a huge comp with World Cup vibes might take the edge off.
Sounds like a bit of a fantasy to me.
Huge gatherings of families in hotels doesn’t sound particularly smart.
The bigger concern would be hospitals. Are we really going to play high-level sport whilst hospitals are still drowning in covid hell? What would happen if a player snapped his leg like Aaron Ramsey did? Where does the league find the necessary medics needed to support the game? Even semi-pro football often has a St. John’s Ambulance on stand by. Would they dare divert resource?
It’s a desperately tough situation. We can’t stay in hibernation forever, but we also can’t risk further spread by nationally communicating that social distancing is finished.
… but hey, maybe this will all go in the summer? Maybe we’ll have enough testing in place to reduce the risk. Maybe the league has a plan that can work for everyone.
I still think a national spectacle in June is a little bit like going for a quick marathon run the day after groin surgery.
Think about it. What does the matchday crew for a football game look like this?
- 25 players
- 15 backroom
- 10 support staff
That’s 1000 people mingling in close proximity before you even get into the TV staff, security, stadium workers, and the medics.
o-100mph in a pretty short space of time.
Cesare Prandelli; Italian coaching legend, put it more bluntly than I just did.
“We need to let the grief and pain pour out,”
“There needs to be respect for those who have suffered. You can’t go from the cemetery to the stadium in a day; from a convoy carrying 150 coffins to an ole.”
At the very top in America, the virus was not being taken very seriously this time last week, tonality across the board sharpened when the bodies started piling up. I do wonder whether the panic of the Premier League to feed billions back into millionaires will start to look trivial if the upward curve of infections and deaths continue.
It’s easy to get caught up in a panic over clubs in the top divisions, but remember, players and top management earn fortunes and that money can be deferred. The clubs are also mostly owned by billionaires. The real losers out of this are usually those lower down the food chain, the casual staff and the folk that make clubs tick. That’s why I think the Barca players have made an absolute statement by deferring 70% of their pay with the insistence that Barca pay non-sporting staff as part of the deal. This some kid called Lio Messie speaking on behalf of the Barca players.
“Beyond the reduction of 70% of our salaries during the state of alarm, we are also going to make further contribution to ensure that the employees can continue to be paid 100% of their salaries for as long as this situation lasts,”
I love this.
I hope that if it comes to it, Arsenal players take the same approach. I think the people are looking at businesses and players during this moment looking to see the depth of their character. Do you want to be a Richard Branson or a Mike Ashley? Or do you want to be seen as a Rishi Sunak or Jeff Bezos?
Right, that’s me done for now… more coming later.