Coronavirus: Football clubs still going to be affected once matchdays return

Former AC Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi once said that “football is the most important of the least important things in life”.

These words have never had the same impact than they do currently.

With the world gripped by the Coronavirus pandemic, the resumption of the football season has never looked more unimportant.

However, for some in society, football is their livelihoods and for those at the bottom end of the pyramid the lack of fixtures could have dire results.

Barnet became the first club in the top five tiers of English football to place non-playing staff on notice of redundancy and according to the Programme Leader in Football Business and Finance at UCFB, Ian Tomlinson, things may not go back to normal for clubs when matchday returns.

He said: “If they were able to open their doors in a month’s time, it will take a while for people to be in a position where they can return to going to football matches as though nothing has happened.

“There are a lot of people that are not able to feasibly work from home. This has an impact regarding the revenue that is entering households.

“So not only will people not be able to go to matches physically but when they come back they will not be in a financial position to attend games.

“Businesses which rely on people going out and about for a living are all going to be impacted, potentially, in a way that we haven’t seen before.”

Last week, League Two side Walsall urged the EFL to step in and provide funds to support clubs.

But Mr Tomlinson believes that is easy said than done: “I think it would be wise for them (the EFL) to be looking at it strategically but it is easy to sit here and say that they should help.

“The problem that the EFL have is coming up with anything that could cover something of this magnitude – where everybody has been incredibly and quite substantially hit.

“Collectively, what could they do? They could redistribute finances across the clubs, but they would only be able to do that rather than seeking other finance at the moment.

“What the government has put in place will help companies and ultimately should help football clubs.”

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