There’s a ticking time bomb in the world of football. Well, actually two ticking time bombs…ah hell, they’re not ticking anymore. They’ve gone off and we don’t even realize it yet.
We have known about them for a while. Years regarding one, and just six months with the other, and they’ve been played down to varying degrees. Singly, football might have been able to survive, but with both problems bubbling away I don’t think the season is going to finish and more important, I don’t think a lot of teams are going to survive.
The two turning points are COVID-19 showing up in the West Ham team and Lewis Kinsella having to crowdfund so his team, Aldershot, could afford to have his knee fixed. Are lower league teams so tight that they can’t afford health and injury insurance for their player?
I was aghast at the fact that a lower-league team didn’t have COVID-19 testing and it resulted in forfeiture for one of them in the Carabao Cup third round as the whole team tested positive. Why didn’t the National Health Service cover their costs for testing? £5,000!!! Cup games are where a good portion of the year’s revenue come from for the lower leagues. Will they survive that?
Closing down the leagues continent-wide last spring was the only path that could have been taken. Football isn’t an essential service, but in reality it provides a diversion to everyday life, so in my mind it is part of everyone’s life. This sentiment covers baseball, hockey, basketball, and American football. As an aside, the Canadian football league cancelled the season for 2020. The chances of it surviving is 50/50. This is a league that is older than all the football leagues in Europe and all the professional leagues in North America. So you can see how precarious it is for league play for all the rest.
COVID-19 will be beaten by the medical services on this planet, but with severe consequences left behind. As I write this, global deaths have surpassed 1,000,000 in just six months. Canada has just entered the second wave, and both Britain and the U.S. have been rattled heavily economy-wise: as have Europe and most of the world. But, amazingly enough, we have Messi on £700,000 a week, Bale on £600,000. Holy shit, Batman, something is out of whack when the world is reeling and paydays like that go on.
Just taking football into account, without financial help flowing down into the lower leagues football will dry up. Where else do tomorrow’s players come from but from the lower leagues? Where else will the next James Vardy come from? Or a future Jack Grealish to get senior playing time? The lower leagues are the lifeblood of every top team on the planet, regardless of the sport.
Either TV money needs to filter down to make them viable or Premier League teams need to step up and keep them solvent. What a shame Bury got gassed with no one stepping up to help. One week’s pay from an elite player would have done it.
Who do you think will step up and help this listing ship? Who in the Premier League would step up if asked? Would Sky Sports? This question has to be asked. This problem has always been there. COVID-19 has just ripped the covers off it.
I’d like to see Villa step up.