United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson announced that supporters would not be allowed into stadiums despite their agreement with sports clubs to have fans return to stadiums by October. The government is concerned about individuals’ safety since there is fear that there could be a second wave of coronavirus infections in the UK.
The FA sees huge financial losses on clubs if fans are not allowed into stadiums anytime soon
The development didn’t go down well for supporters, club executives, or the football association. Since they are also concerned about these supporters’ health and safety, they are also envisioning huge financial losses if supporters do not return. Clubs have already lost millions while playing games behind closed doors, and it seems to be getting worse over time.
While Boris Johnson believes that the restriction could go on for at least six months if a vaccine is not developed, the FA is also estimating an alarming loss of revenue. “We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions, and large sporting events.” Johnson had said. “So we will not be able to do this from October 1, and I recognize the implications for our sports clubs, which are the lives and souls of our communities.”
The government has agreed to support clubs financially, but the FA believes there will be frustration, clubs will still struggle. In a statement, the FA said, “we understand the government’s decision, as well as the health of the nation, is a priority. However, it is important to recognize that the impact on football will be huge. Clubs up and down the country are struggling, and many will have been looking forward to crowds coming back to provide income during these difficult times.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to providing financial support to clubs and will continue to work together on a return of crowds as soon as it is safe to do so.”
What are the leagues saying? What are higher-ups in sports suggesting, and how will it help?
Sports clubs going out of business will be very common if the government does not step in; that is what Shadow Sports Minister Alison McGovern is stressing. She wants the government to make sure that no one loses a much-loved sports club because of the pandemic. In summer, sports clubs were already crippling due to the loss of ticket sales.
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports, Oliver Dowden, met with more than a hundred representatives from different sport disciplines to further discuss the impact of sports restrictions. According to the government, the English Football League and the Premier League should work hand in hand and support each other and offer financial support if there is a critical need. Well, the EFL is barely standing on its feet at the moment.
“EFL clubs lost £50m last season as a result of playing matches behind closed doors or curtailing the season and stand to lose a further £200m in 2020/21 should we be required to play the whole season without supporters in grounds.” EFL chairman Rick Parry said. “I am encouraged that the government has recognized the need for urgent financial assistance for sports and discussions will continue for DCMS and the Premier League.
“We remain optimistic that a solution will be found, but we should be very clear that if it is not, then the outlook for many clubs in the period ahead will be very challenging.” He added.
The Premier League shares the same protective feeling with the government. However, they have suggested that they can still host supporters in stadiums because of the generalized health safety protocols they’ve put in place with health professionals’ help. They believe their stadiums will be safe to host fans. £100m has already gone down the drain. The Rugby Football Union says they are also suffering financial losses.
The Rugby Football league executive Ralph Rimmer has said that the league is losing close to £2m a week. As devastating as that sounds, should the lives of supporters be put in jeopardy for the interest of sports?