Football and COVID-19: How the pandemic affected the sport
Football, or Soccer, is the most watched sport in the world. As per totalsportek, Football has 4 billion fans worldwide. So, imagine the agony of its fans around the world when all matches of every league worldwide were suspended. However, they were not the only ones effected. Football Clubs, just like businesses worldwide, were worried for their finances and sustainability. As stadiums came to close and television viewership earnings diminished, many clubs were badly affected. Moreover, the uncertainty regarding contracts and the final results of the season have left many of them uneasy. Here are some major effects of COVId-19 on Football.
Tournaments and Leagues Postponed
Every single league around the world was postponed due to the virus over the last couple of months. This halt came into effect at different times across the league as the virus spread. However, even though all leagues are postponed till further notice, it is still unclear what the result will be. Will the season be cancelled without crowning anyone champions? Or will it continue when lockdown is finished? What will this mean for the upcoming season? An air of uncertainty surrounds the footballing world, where many will feel hard done by if the season were to be cancelled; Case in point: Liverpool. Having all but won the league, Liverpool will feel they deserve the title (rightly so), regardless of the ongoing situation.
COVID-19 has led to the global economy shattering. This has affected the Football Industry as well. Without any matches, betting websites and partners have faltered. Clubs are running low on funds and like any other industry, are finding it difficult to cope. However, with crisis comes hope. Many football clubs have played their part in the fight against COVID-19 by continuing to pay workers or by donating large sums of money to their relevant governments and hospitals. The players have not been far behind either. Mid-March, majority Premier League players decided to take a wage cut and donate that part of their salary to the National Health Services (NHS) staff to help in their battle against COVID-19. Gestures like these show us that the sport that we love transcends any global catastrophe, and even when not in action, helps us through it.
What is football without its fans? With the initial step to hold matches behind closed doors seen as a necessary sacrifice by fans, the total cancellation of those matches has been devastating. Football is more than just a sport for those who follow it avidly; It is a way to take a break from the harsh realities of life. Football is constant, even when everything else may not be. That is the exact reason why its cancellation has been such a blow. Fans are now forced to face the realities they looked to get away from. They cannot socialize with their fellow fans and go with them to games. They cannot even watch those games on the television. Season Ticket holders are asking for refunds as the economy collapses and their pre-bought tickets are cancelled. Those who bought tickets for tournaments like EURO 2020 are stranded in uncertainty as to if their tickets will be forwarded with the tournament next year.
An air of uncertainty surrounds the Football world with the spread of COVID-19. However, with the footballing world coming together to fight the virus have given us hope that not all is lost yet. Football will be back. Stronger than ever. And we will be even more excited for its return than ever before.
About the author: Syed Muhammad Ismail is a life-long Chelsea fan and business enthusiast. Combining his two passions, he currently runs his own Sports Management company while also writing content for PACE blog. If you want to know more, you can follow him on LinkedIn.