COVID-19 comment: Football behind closed doors 'very bad' for lower-tier clubs23 March 2020
Dr James Reade, a sports economist and head of the Department of Economics at the University of Reading said:
“There has been some discussion over the weekend suggestions that the Premiership may start up again behind closed doors.
“If they do it, it will create pressure on lower leagues to follow as the financial implications of top tier football has a significant impact on those lower down the pyramid. It will be financially very bad for those clubs since the revenues will lost forever and unless some emergency TV deal could be struck to allow streaming, and compensate clubs for each match streamed this could lead to further financial woes for clubs in an already precarious position.
“Were this to go ahead, it would need to involve a government deal since no TV channel is going to be in a position to do this.
“If some analysis of what happened following the World War suspensions of football is anything to go by, attendances soared to new heights and there may well be something similar seen in the UK as long as the immediate pressure to carry the season on behind closed doors isn’t followed.
“There are also discussions about the Women’s euros moving from 2021 to 2022 to take advantage of the gap in the summer since World Cup 2022 is in the winter. This seems like an excellent idea to give it top billing, but the downside will be that it moves the tournament back further.
“Away from football, the Olympics is looking like the Euros. It really has to be postponed and they really need to do it soon to avoid uncertainty and avoid creating a great deal of bad will which is antithetical to the spirit of the games.
“Clearly Olympics a very different beast and mixes a lot of different calendars which other sports don’t. This is normally incredibly complex, but in unprecedented times like these where all those calendars have stopped, events which may normally count for qualification aren’t taking place either.
“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions and in this season it would now seem exceptional if they didn't postpone the games for the same reasons football did with the Euros.”