How COVID has impacted football and where will it go?
COVID has shaken up the footballing world as well as many other sporting events around the world. But the impact on the game could have a much longer term impact and may change the way teams deal with the future of this crisis.
Clubs will need to think of innovative and new ways of being able to bring some normality back to the leagues and their own individual clubs from dealing with financing and fans.
One thing is for sure football will be forced to be innovative and for clubs to change their current models
Some believe the game will change for the better once there is some normality restored, some may think it will never be the same again. Certainly from a recruitment point of view things will change, the power dynamics will shift, probably for the better back to where it should be, with the clubs. Agents and players may not be able to demand such large fees and wages as managers and clubs will simply turn around and say fine we’ll look elsewhere. More so those that have been hit harder than others financially during this period, especially for divisions below the Premier League.
Players and agents will need to lower their expectations certainly if they want to play at a certain level or at a certain club. Recruitment strategies may change to focus and invest even more in the youth system, bringing in fresh younger talent which will be cheaper than buying a ready made player. So we may start to see all clubs focused on their own youth system and pushing in new talent rather than spending ridiculous amounts now on world class players – although spending near a £100 million for a player has become the norm over the last few years, that will change.
Clubs may look at this as an opportunity to reboot and assess itself and direction. Although having said all that, big clubs will most likely still continue in the manner they have been doing so at least for some time once the pandemic is over.
It may have the biggest impact on players in lower divisions the wage gap between them and Premier League players is immense. Some of them if contracts don’t get renewed or during lockdowns they may not get paid, might have to start looking at second jobs to supplement or support themselves.
The way scouting is done will probably have to change with restrictions on travel and number of people, not all scouts may be able to attend as many games to analyze players and will have to adopt technology more so, using video analysis. Scouts will be more immersive with technology and will have to be more creative in their ways of finding a new hidden talent. Just look at clubs like Sheffield United and Burnley, who don’t have many scouts but have sophisticated operations and recruit well, clubs like those will be able to handle what is coming.
On the flip side, top agents and world star players will probably not see too much of a difference in their wages and fees. However, what will probably change is players reaching or into their 30s might not be able to command such large wages as current players do.
A contract may be drawn differently instead, using incentives and targets to reach as payouts rather than paying a large sum in one go.
Director of football & the fans
Directors might have to be more creative in terms of bringing fans to the stadiums. We don’t know at this when fans will be allowed back and if so how it will work in terms of seating arrangements etc. How will clubs bring in revenue without fans or a full set of fans will force them to be more creative in terms of how to do it. FC Midtjylland has introduced a drive-in concept where fans can pull up outside the stadium to watch the game on screens outside the pitch, creativity such as this will help reduce the damage to revenue of no fans in the stadium.
Sponsors will perhaps even change their approach and not being able to pay out large amounts as they currently do. This will mean fewer funds available to transfer fees. This again could have an impact on the smaller clubs in comparison to the larger teams.
Overall this pandemic will shift the way all football clubs around the world run and their clubs. How they deal with this financially will be on top of everyone’s list and even the bigger clubs will be hurt by this and will impact their activities in transfer markets. But not only clubs but everyone down to the players, scouts, agents, sponsors, and fans. It will be down to all these individually or as a collective be creative enough to ensure the game can be enjoyed again. One thing is for sure that football will be forced to be innovative and for clubs to change their current models.
How do you think the football world will change in the next few years? Even more so how long do you think before all the clubs are able to recover from this crisis?
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