Wednesday's soccer news starts with another issue once the games resume. How does the transfer window work if leagues need more time to complete the current season? According to a report from The Telegraph's Mike McGrath FIFA may address that by keeping the summer window open until January. Though individual leagues determine when their transfer windows open and close, the thought is that an extended window would help the transfer business recover
Other reports have clubs asking players to consider reducing their salaries and along with staff as they wait for the games to resume. That move is in response to the reality for many clubs large and small that run at a loss with gate receipts, sponsorship, and TV money. With even major clubs dependent on benefactor owners willing to operate at significant losses, it's an interesting business situation across the board.
UEFA is reportedly considering changing Financial Fair Play regulations in response to the pandemic, at least in the short term. Broadcasters depend on an inventory of live games that currently has no clear restart date. All of that compounds the financial issues clubs currently face. That's fed the doom scenarios of clubs going out of business entirely due to the postponement of games. In England, lower division clubs have pressed for solidarity payments from the Premier League but the topflight faces its own financial issues.
What seems clear already is the longer leagues go without games on the schedule the more difficult it's going to be to return to an economic normal. That's true across the global economy, but multiple reports and pundits have it hitting professional soccer especially hard. That might not be anybody outside of soccer's first priority now, but it would be another aspect of normal life that ends up different. Financial considerations may cause that, but the ultimate cost is greater across the board.
Phrases like "returning to normal" and "business as usual" assume those things are not just possible, but reasonable. If it turns out that isn't correct, reorienting a business to compensate isn't going to be easy. It could take more than extending a transfer window and reworking financial regulations. It might take what seems like one of the most lucrative professional sports in the world reconsidering the fundamentals of how its business operates. No longer selling players for cash, strengthening financial regulations to prohibit clubs from operating at a loss, ending the overreliance on broadcast rights fees, and recognizing that there are too many games on the schedule would be obvious places to start.
In a follow-up to yesterday's announcement that the 2020 Summer Olympics will now happen in 2021, IOC chairman Thomas Bach mentioned in a press conference earlier today that the Olympics could move to Spring. Concacaf is the only confederation that hasn't completed qualifying. FIFA has yet to confirm roster limitations for the U-23 tournament.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tannenwald on the USSF press conference with new CEO Will Wilson. Pro Soccer USA's Julia Poe relays MLS commissioner Don Garber's comments about resuming the season. MLSsoccer's Matthew Doyle lists his picks for the best USMNT games. SI.com's Grant Wahl spoke with USMNT and Schalke player Weston McKennie.
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