How Has COVID-19 Impacted European Football Leagues?
You might remember a little virus from a few years ago that quickly and massively reshaped the whole world around us. While we saw everything around us reformed and torn down with everyone locked inside, football has been one of the industries that took a massive stab due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are still feeling the repercussions of the virus that swept football, and some effects are still to be seen. For now, we are seeing the superficial changes that the clubs around the world are feeling. We can’t really say what will happen down the line, but the reality might be that we could be a few clubs shorter.
Football Revenue Takes a Large Tumble
During the 2019/2000 season, European football clubs experienced an overall decrease in revenue of about €3.7 billion overall. Approximately an 11% decrease compared to the previous season. Something that a lot of clubs were not able to afford. The Premier League, in particular, experienced a 13% drop in income. Which was the first drop of that magnitude in the league’s history.
The realisation of the full scope of losses is still unknown. Predictions say that the clubs, especially the English ones, will be able to recover to some extent. But never to the fullest. On the other hand, the Bundesliga experienced the least drop at 4%.
Structural Changes in Football
The COVID-19 pandemic made it very hard to organise future competitions in both domestic and international football. With many leagues on pause, or cancelled completely, it led to the movement of future events.
For instance, the Dutch Eredivisie and the French Ligue 1 were suspended and abandoned. It resulted in Lille becoming the champion in France and the suspension of the Dutch title for the season.
Meanwhile, other leagues continued while the 2020 Euros were moved for next year. All of the movements resulted in tectonic changes for everyone involved and affected the players the most. Football is already hard; the effects of COVID and the changes in schedule made it even harder. To mitigate the problem, teams could make five substitutions during a single match instead of three. The rule which they decided to keep and are using across all major leagues and competitions.
The deafening and ghostly silence heard across all football pitches in the latter part of 2020 still haunts us. The absence of fans changed the game completely and, for some teams, even took away their home-field advantage. Nevertheless, it seems that things took a turn for the normal when things started normalising.
However, we can’t forget the lonesome atmosphere at some stadiums during the 2020 European Championship. Unfortunately, some fans were never the same and did not want to come back. While it seems quite normal now, for some supporters, it will never be the same anymore.