For those who are still following the current state of football across the league pyramid, and all those thoughts of possible restarts, cancellations and a host of other options, we were updated by what was yet again another FA back-off of making any tangible decision, of how clubs in the lower league need to set their financial plans going forwards.
But what does Foreseeable Future actually mean, well it can honestly mean anything, but going by the FA statement I saw posted through Hampshire FA, it talks about the 3rd April, for the Premier League, being a reviewable date.
That’s all well and good for the Premier League and some Championship teams, who can just send their players home, ask them to keep fit and await the April date, but for the rest of the league clubs, this has already caused numerous issues, as some teams quite simply cannot afford to pay wages, without the commercial money received through home matches.
Both Championship and EFL clubs wish to complete the season, but how far into the summer months could that be.
In fact this morning, it was stated that the 47 clubs in Leagues One and Two have told the EFL they face an estimated combined loss of £50m if the campaign cannot restart before the summer.
Then looking at the Non-League level, clubs are already cutting staff, shutting down grounds and looking at anyway to cut costs, whilst the FA makes its latest weak non-committal plan.
At step 4 and step 5, I am sure club boards are meeting with Managers and players to seek a best possible solution, whilst training sessions, academy’s and matches have been shut down. Even Junior football has been halted as well.
With the FA Cup Quarter-Finals due to be played this weekend have been put back till an unknown date and with the Final in serious doubt for May and further into the summer.
The one-year postponement of the European Championships, could possibly allow the Premier League and EFL to continue football in May and June, but for lower step football clubs, they simply can’t continue without any income until May.
But why won’t this work, and what considerations need to be understood.
- Because unless it has been altered, player signings from club-to-club are due to end in a matter of days. Many players were due to be released and were seeking new clubs.
- Clubs, including us, have little or no real revenue coming in besides home match-days, before any restart.
- As previously mentioned, they will need to renegotiate salaries, at the beginning of May, as player contracts finish. Will players want or be able to play into the summer months, because of other commitments?
- With most clubs at lower league still having to play anywhere from 7 to 14 games, possibly from May, you are looking well into, if not the end of June, before the league season could be fairly and honestly completed.
- When will clubs be able to reseed pitches. Some need urgent work already and this will need close to two or three months for it to be ready for the start of any new season.
- If the league season is to be finished as normal, we then have a playoff system to complete. Is that late June or July we are now in to?
- The league structure, unless it is postponed for 12 months, will take some time to formalise, so that clubs can prepare their travel costs etc for the 2020-21 season.
I’m sure I am missing other possible issues, but think that’s enough to be concerned about at our level of football.
So the next real update from the league unless the Government puts a complete lockdown across the country will be early April.
What will you be doing this weekend and moving on. It’s just simply boring without football!!