Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with teammate Phil Foden after scoring his team's first goal during the Carabao Cup Final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on March 01, 2020 in London, England
British clubs face financial ruin due to coronavirus, pundits and broadcasters may suffer too, while Andres Iniesta is optimistic in Japan.
Premier League clubs could go bust
The Daily Mail reports that Premier League clubs could face ruin, with £1.6 billion owed in transfer fees. The paper warns that owners will elect to save their businesses before any clubs they are responsible for, that a domino effect of transfer fees owed could cause a collapse, and that banks may see clubs default on their debt without income returning.
Paper Round’s views: All these worst case scenarios are admittedly possible, but there are other options. Banks and clubs could both negotiate to extend their payment obligations, and nobody will want to cause a collapse across the sport. While that could still happen, more likely are debt haircuts or refinanced obligations to smooth out the difficulties faced.
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Pundits could face legal battle
The Daily Mirror runs with a story that suggests pundits could face a legal battle with some broadcasters should they not be able to pay them their dues. Pundits like Chris Sutton, Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Savage have yet to reach an agreement with Premier League rights holder BT over how to settle their contract, but negotiations are ongoing.
Paper Round’s views: As above, it is not in the interests of either the broadcasters or the pundits to fail to find a compromise. BT are suffering with a loss of product, and the pundits will likely have counted on their salary. However, over the long term both parties need each other and common sense should demand that they are able to work out a compromise.
Barry Fry is concerned over the viability of clubs across the football pyramid. Speaking to the Sun, Peterborough’s director of football said: “We just want to get back playing matches and what I hear from the Premier League, EFL and the FA everyone wants to finish the season, which is good. That’s because there are so many repercussions if we don’t. All our sponsors are entitled to have some of their money back — and we’ve spent it! That would put a lot of clubs out of business overnight and it would be like a pack of cards folding, to be honest.”
Barry Fry has serious reservations about the smaller clubs in England.
Image credit: PA Sport
Paper Round’s views: While Premier League clubs owe the most money in terms of nominal amounts, the relative problems are perhaps greater further down the line for clubs that can't secure more credit easily, or who are already in financial trouble. More support needs to be directed from the state and bigger clubs down the leagues, and reform for the future should be considered to buttress their existence.
Spanish newspaper Marca has spoken to former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta about his experience in Japan so far, particularly regarding coronavirus. The pandemic forced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, but the country has proved so far to be one of the least affected by the outbreak. Vissel Kobe's Iniesta explained: "It's been three or so months since everything started and the feeling here is of control. People are going out on the streets.What they did very well was closing the schools and events with lots of people from the first minute. All that minimised the consequences."
Paper Round’s views: As Iniesta says, Japan approached the outbreak with more speed than other countries who are now suffering more severely. Of course there are plenty of details to be confirmed and the pandemic can't be controlled easily, but it does appear Japan will be able to keep functioning more effectively than others.