The Premier League faces significant challenges to resume its activity.
Some countries like Taiwan have found strategies to carry out their local baseball and soccer tournaments. Although they are small leagues with just 8 teams, at least they have found a way to continue playing.
The English Premier League for its part is still not clear how and when they can play the local tournaments again. Initially, it was said that the matches would be suspended until April 3. That date was moved to April 30 due to the alarming advance of COVID-19 in British territory. The situation in England is currently not very promising, and even Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to be hospitalized for contracting the virus. Given these events, the Premier League recently announced that they cannot estimate an exact date for the return of local tournaments. The official statement reads as follows: “It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May – and that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so”.
In addition to postponing the restart of sports activity in England, the federation announced that it will donate £ 20 million to help the National Health Service, the vulnerable communities and groups that are being affected during this pandemic.
The problem of wages
Not having a clear date when it will be possible to play again is putting a lot of pressure on the finances of some clubs. Keep in mind that the Premier League is one of the most expensive leagues in the world, where some players receive salaries of up to $ 320,000 a week. According to statements by Lord Alan Sugar, former owner of Tottenham, many clubs depend on weekly box office earnings and television rights to cover the payroll. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but they spend every single penny they can on player transfers and player wages and rely upon the income coming in to pay their bills. Lord Sugar stated.
All the clubs are being affected by this situation. For example, Norwich and Newcastle have already had to request government help to cover their non-playing staff. Thus the government takes over 80% of the wage, and the club assumes 20%. Burnley officials recently stated that they estimate that by August they will no longer have money. A similar situation seems going to happen with Tottenham.
In this complex scenario, all the Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players about a possible 30 percent reduction in their salary to protect club employees and keep finances healthy while awaiting the return of the competition.
How much can a club lose?
The British newspaper The Sun made an exhaustive calculation of how much all Premier League teams can lose if the 2019-2020 season cannot be resumed. The calculation considers revenue from television rights, revenue on game day, and revenue from the club’s retail activities. Here is the total loss for the big 6 teams:
Manchester United $ 145,809,042.00
Manchester City $ 136,915,191.15
Liverpool $ 128, 522,403.00
Chelsea $ 113,991,605.00
Tottenham $ 103,970,365.00
Arsenal $ 92, 696,470.00
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the soccer business model, which seemed very profitable. Managers and executives of the clubs spent fortunes to hire the best players, win trophies, or in some cases simply to stay in the first division. The problem is that if you cannot play a single game, the financial blow is very great.
To help the finances of the clubs, the Premier League will advance the money for end-of-season television rights. This is the amount each team receives based on where they were in the table at the end of the season. The clubs at the top of the table receive up to 20 million. The problem is that if the current season cannot be resumed, the Premier League will have to return part of that money to the television networks and companies that had acquired the rights. So this move to help the clubs is quite risky.