We must finish the 2019-20 soccer season
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is not going away soon. It is a crisis that will lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, worldwide, and turmoil and uncertainty for many others. For this reason, soccer should not be something that is considered important right now.
At some point soccer will become important again though. Any industry that generates billions in revenue will have to be. It matters not only for the players and coaches, but also for stadium workers, backroom staff, and everyone whose livelihoods rely on soccer. This is why the expenses that will arise from the potential ending or voiding of this season must be avoided at all costs.
The major costs of not finishing the season come from the lost television revenue. The money that the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, and Serie A take in from international television revenue is crucial to their well-being. It is necessary not just for bigger clubs, but also for smaller, less well-known clubs, where it is the only thing keeping them alive. Losing that revenue would be calamitous for all involved.
Second is the issue of player contracts and bonuses, as well as team sponsorships. With the traditional expiration date for these deals being June 30, many players and clubs will be eager to be released from certain contracts, and sign deals with new sponsors. However, if the season is voided, players may not have the chance to gain bonuses they may believe they deserved, and sponsors may not have received the exposure they paid for. This will result in legal proceedings that could drain the coffers of many clubs.
The final major consequence of voiding the season is a consequence that will be felt on the field and off it. With multiple competitions next season depending on the results from this season, many teams will be eager to finish this campaign. The money at stake when it comes to relegation, promotion, and finishing in European places is too much to ignore. As a result, if this season is ended, there will likely be even more legal paperwork that will hang over European soccer like a dark cloud.
As a result, the only feasible option is to finish the 2019-20 season when it is safe to do so. It is important to satisfy all stakeholders involved, including fans, as best as possible in these tumultuous times. It could even be framed as an act of unity, as a way to show that we are attempting to move on from the COVID-19 crisis, and recreate some form of the normalcy we have so tragically lost.