Coronavirus Latest: Premier League 'Fear' Wage Cuts, Champions League Behind Closed Doors & More


​As the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to throttle the world, the debate in the world of football remains how and when the 2019/20 season can resume, if it is even possible.

This is a roundup of the latest regarding the Premier League, UEFA and La Liga.

Premier League Clubs Fear Player Wage Cuts

Premier League clubs are yet to impose wage cuts or deferrals on players, as has been the case abroad, over a fear that it could be interpreted as a breach of contract that would allow individuals to leave as free agents.

That is according to a report from the Daily Mail, which suggests clubs are instead waiting for a collective wage deferral to come from talks between the Premier League, EFL and PFA. It is said that players themselves are open to accepting deferrals, but await PFA guidance.

A uniform approach, however, will be difficult given the vast differences in pay even within squads at the same club. Even a set percentage could affect lower earners more than high earners.

That is also presented as a reason why Tottenham have announced 20% pay cuts for non-playing staff, while protecting players wages, and Newcastle have put non-playing staff of temporary leave.

'World Cup-Style' Finish Premier League Season Won’t Work

The latest mooted plan to finish the 2019/20 Premier League was a ‘World Cup-style’ calendar where games could be played in quick succession in June and July in a limited number of venues, with players all the while observing strict quarantine conditions between fixtures.

But Christian Machowski, whose ESEM company handles travel management for top clubs, has explained why such an idea will not work in practice.

“Everybody wants the best for their team, but there's only a small number of elite hotels that are suitable,” Machowski told the Daily Mirror.

“For example, there are two or three hotels in London where all the teams tend to stay when they play there. To find a venue where 20 teams can find facilities up to the required standard is just not workable,” he added.

“In terms of training facilities, teams would also want to be as a close as possible, so that would present problems. Then you would have to quarantine the same hotel staff for three or four weeks. And if one team picked up an infection, whether it's a player or member of staff, that's the end of the tournament.

“It's not about teams staying in luxury, it's complicated because the infrastructure is so finely tuned for clubs in terms of what they need.”

Season Unlikely to Resume Before June

While June was previously suggested as a month when the 2019/20 season across Europe could be finished, albeit in a very condensed time frame, The Guardian writes that June is now more likely just the start date rather than the end.

UEFA is to hold a cross-continent video conference meeting with all 55 member associations, while England will also hold its own meetings.

Finishing the various seasons is still seen as the priority, rather than cancelling and skipping ahead to 2020/21, but The Guardian explains there is now talk of starting in June, if possible, and continuing on through to August if necessary. Even that is described as ‘optimistic’.

Champions League Final Behind Closed Doors

According to The Independent, UEFA are committed to completing the 2019/20 Champions League and Europa League and are ‘actively planning’ for the finals to be played behind closed doors. When those games will be played isn’t clear, but voiding the season is ‘off the table’.

Despite the belief that the season must be finished, there is said to be an acceptance that the Champion League and Europa League finals will have to be played behind closed doors. Given that both competitions were only at the last 16 stage when football had to be halted, plenty of other games must also be played before clubs even reach that stage.

Deadline to Resume La Liga

In Spain, SPORT reports that La Liga president Javier Tebas has informed all 42 clubs in the top two divisions that the season could be cancelled if games cannot be resumed by 27 June.

If and when games do resume, they will reluctantly have to be played without fans, but that is the preferable alternative to leaving the season unfinished.

If the season does have to be cancelled, there is not yet a known plan as to how La Liga plans to handle the final standings, including the title, European places, relegation and promotion.

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