Financial turbulence will reshuffle ranking of European football — expert

BERLIN, April 14  — Significant changes lie ahead for European football due to the coronavirus crisis, Xinhua news agency reported Germany’s most known sports lawyer Christoph Schickhardt as saying.

As transfer activities, investments and wages decrease, the economic strategies of most clubs will need to be reconsidered across the continent. Leagues such as the Serie A in Italy, the Spanish La Liga and the French League 1 will suffer unpredictable financial turbulence due to their high salary rates.

The Bundesliga will benefit relative to other European leagues and there is a sense that the rankings will be reshuffled. Schickhardt expects only the English Premier League to survive as the German national league’s closest rival.

“German football and the Bundesliga will experience an increase of value in European football,” the 65-year-old is predicting. He believes players will find an oasis of professionalism in German football as most clubs are run economically sound. But Germany won’t get away unharmed.

Too many clubs are walking a financial tightrope. He called it disconcerting that enterprises with a turnover of over 100 million can’t create financial reserves.

Schickhardt said too many clubs spend every euro earned for players and agents as soon as it hits their tills. The current crisis is going to force all professional football clubs to rethink their economic behavior.

Cautiousness will have to grow: “I wouldn’t sign a contract worth several million, not knowing if I can carry the load in a year.” The economic actions of football clubs will change drastically.

“The clubs’ financial directors will have a say over the coming months and the entire next season,” Schickhardt is predicting.

The plans of sporting directors and coaches will have to play a side role. Times of unlimited output is a thing of the past, the lawyer commented. According to a report from the sports magazine Kicker, 13 of 36 sides in the first and second divisions face insolvency in the case that the shutdown continues for an extended period.

The 2019/2020 campaign of the national leagues came to a halt, after 25 rounds of matches, early March due to the coronavirus crisis. The league association announced that its main goal remains to finish the current season by the end of June.

Plans include games behind closed doors run with the minimum number of staff involved for the remaining nine matchdays. The restart is scheduled for the beginning of May. Despite existing minor problems in German football, Schickhardt hopes games behind closed doors can be run as soon as possible.

Games without a crowd not long ago were seen as the worst case. “Now they seem to have turned into the best case as fans won’t be allowed in the arenas for a long time.” The Bundesliga’s restart has to take place based on a social consensus. “The virus is defining the pace, not our desire to see football,” Schickhardt underlined.





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