News ID: 269172
Published: 1206 GMT May 17, 2020

Coronavirus could cost top-flight European clubs £3.5b

Coronavirus could cost top-flight European clubs £3.5b
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Top-flight European clubs stand to lose more than £3.5 billion because of COVID-19 even if the major domestic leagues and competitions reach their conclusion.

The figure, across this season and next, was outlined in a meeting of stakeholders within the game last week, BBC Sport reported.

It is estimated if the competitions failed to reach their conclusions, the figure would rise to more than £6.2 billion.

The German Bundesliga resumed on May 16 while the Premier League is aiming to restart on June 12.

The eye-watering sums explain why so much work is going into plans to complete all the competitions – and start next season's, including the logistical difficulty of organizing 203 two-legged qualifying ties involving all 55 UEFA nations, to be completed before the middle of October.

Despite speculation to the contrary, BBC Sport understands that for sporting, political and financial reasons, UEFA is committed to retaining the inclusivity of its competitions and would only cut access as a last resort.

However, adjustments may have to be made, including the potential for one-off ties and regional qualifying, if the process is to be completed in time.

Logistical headaches also exist with the calendar for international football.

UEFA's plan to normalize the situation is to arrange triple-header international windows in October and November. However, while this might work in Europe, it would be difficult to implement in other confederations given the number of key players needing to make lengthy journeys 'home'.

One of the major obstacles to the start of the 2020-21 international competitions are medical protocols.

Tim Meyer, who is in charge of UEFA's medical committee, is also responsible for the protocols introduced by the Bundesliga for its return this weekend.

While the 28 clubs from 12 countries still in this season's Champions and Europa League should be able to adhere to the same protocols, expanding that across an entire continent for the enormous qualification series will prove a different challenge completely.

It has been noted the budgets of many clubs involved are far removed from those commonplace even in the mid-sized leagues.

 

August finish

 

UEFA has a plan to finish the 2019-20 season by August, including the Champions League and Europa League campaigns, the European soccer governing body's president Aleksander Ceferin said.

Ceferin expects at least 80 percent of national leagues to finish their seasons, Reuters reported.

"We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of UEFA to confirm the dates. I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August," Ceferin told beIN Sports.

"As things look now, I'm sure... that we can finish the European season and this means UEFA competition.

"I think the majority of leagues will finish the season. The ones who will not, it's their decision. But they will still have to play qualifiers if they want to participate in the European UEFA competition."

Both the Champions League and Europa League are yet to complete their last-16 matches.

Paris St. Germain, which was declared Ligue 1 champion, is looking to play its Champions League games abroad after the French government said professional sports would not be allowed to return before September.

"Paris St. Germain and Lyon... will have to organize (matches) in France," Ceferin added. "If this is not possible, (they) will have to organize it at a neutral ground.

"If you cannot play in your country, then you have to organize it at a neutral ground... I don't see the reason why French authorities would not allow them to organize a match without spectators, but let's see. It's out of my power."

Euro 2020, scheduled to be hosted in 12 cities across Europe, has been postponed until next year.

"We've had conversations with nine cities and everything is set," Ceferin said.

"With three cities, we have some issues. So we will discuss further. In principle, we will do it in 12 cities but if not, we are ready to do it in 10, nine or eight."

 

 

   
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