Hearts have slashed their wage bill, Leeds United’s players and staff have offered to defer wages and Barcelona are facing economic challenges.
These would all be unthinkable circumstances just last month. But like many aspects of our game during the fight against Covid-19, things are changing, perhaps never to be the same again.
Financially things are changing in the short-term. The likes of Hearts and Leeds have been amongst the first to adapt to the loss of revenue due to no games, but thinking beyond that, what will the landscape look like when this is done?
How the game was in February will almost be like a different reality to what it’ll be like in say August, which could be how far away football is for some leagues. It could be much longer.
As already mentioned, you have the economic implications. 43% of revenue for Scottish Premiership clubs is made up from matchdays and all that goes with them. Missing them for as long as six months or more will wreck havoc and could pose some teams with difficult questions to answer.
Lots has been said about what happens with this season’s prize money and such like, but what about next season? Are fans going to be financially secure across the board to shell out for season tickets despite many spending months off work?
Can they afford to rock up on a matchday and pay for tickets, the new home top, a matchday pie and Bovril combo? Many fans have answered the call to fundraisers from clubs like Partick Thistle and Livingston, but not everyone is on a sound enough financial footing to do so.
Then you have the crowds. After months of being told to stay approximately two metres away from everyone outside your own home, people aren’t going to dive back into normal life. There will be uneasiness at first whilst the dust settles on this situation.
There will be a nuclear fallout from whatever option league authorities worldwide agree to do with their seasons. In England, some non-leagues have already been declared null and void, with some obviously not too happy about the situation.
Outrage will occur in the SPFL too, whatever option is taken. Football won’t be back for months, so no matter what happens, this situation will have a massive impact on this season and the next, with a possible domino effect likely.
Even the way our sport is reported may change. Publications and broadcasters are being forced into making big calls in order to save their long-term futures, with everyone in the industry feeling the effects of declining ad revenue and a severe lack of stories.
This is obviously all hypothetical. Nobody can predict what happens with the leagues, the finances, crowds, pretty much everything related to football in some shape or form with certainty. There’s one feeling beginning to be felt by many though.
We are living through a defining moment in the sport’s history. Not since World War II has a total shutdown of leagues occurred, and even then, the added modern elements weren’t present during the late 1930s and 40s.
Decisions that are made by the powers that be will alter a club’s future in some cases. It’s almost like dismantling an armed bomb on countdown to explosion; one bad wire and it’s curtains potentially for a club.
Everyone is feeling the brunt of this. Football is very much secondary in all this, but one wonders if we’re living through a period of monumental change for the game worldwide.