By Andrew Warshaw
March 27 – The head of the umbrella body representing over 30 European leagues has warned again that medium-sized and smaller clubs could go out of business if the game is shut down for too long as a result of Covid-19.
Lars-Christer Olsson, president of the European Leagues, says no decisions can yet be taken as the virus continues to spread across the Continent but says there is an ongoing debate throughout his membership about the potential impact.
“It’s a discussion that is taking place right now,” Olsson told Insideworldfootball. “At lower level there is no cushion because they are totally dependent on gate receipts to survive.
“It’s no exaggeration to say some clubs could go out of business if we can’t complete the season and they don’t get sufficient financial support. It’s worse in small and mid-sized leagues because there are no real reserves.”
With the sport in lockdown and no indication when it might resume, Olsson has called on governments to help provide guidance. “For us, sooner or later we need to get decisions by the public health authorities before we can come up with a more secure plan.”
Olsson can see a rapidly evolving domino effect with individual leagues restarting and completing their seasons at different times.
“There are likely to be different solutions in different countries because of respective restrictions imposed as a result of corona,” he said. “Obviously whenever they start and finish will then have a knock-on effect in terms of when they can start again next season.”
If that happens, he says, there is a growing likelihood that the format of competitions will have to change both at domestic and European level. One solution may be a return the old-style European Cup knockout system, or something like it.
“If we go on postponing and postponing, there may well have to be alternatives. One way might be to turn home and away games into one match.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org