Coronavirus crisis – The impact on football from transfer fees to clubs going close to wall



Some lower league clubs are going to go close to the wall and transfer budgets almost entirely across the piece will take a hit as football tries to handle the coronavirus crisis, according to a leading finance expert.

National League Barnet have already put all non-playing staff, including head coach Darren Currie, on notice of redundancy as they come to terms with no funds coming in from matches for the foreseeable future.

Premier League and Championship clubs including Stoke City generally have deeper pockets to handle choppier waters – but even most of those are likely to have to make tough decisions.

Heath of players, staff and supporters is the overwhelming priority at the moment.

And the economic impact of the situation will likely have an impact on transfer fees when the market opens again, hopefully this summer.

Kieran Maguire, of Price of Football, told Sky Sports: “Yes, I would anticipate that the transfer market will be subdued in terms of prices once the game resumes. We’re assuming it’s going to resume at some point over the summer.

“The reason for that is that clubs who do still have money, they will still have had to incur significant costs and that is going to reduce their transfer budgets.

“But also, the market will be aware that some clubs are suffering from financial circumstances, that they are close to closing down.

“When the bigger clubs come in and are offering for players, if you perhaps have a player worth £10m in the traditional market and you are aware the seller is in distress, the buyer is likely to exploit that by putting in lower offer.

“While the number of players likely to be traded is likely to be maintained this summer, I think the values for individual transfers – apart from the very elite level – is likely to fall.”

As clubs in the lower divisions feel the squeeze, football will likely have to find help from within the industry itself – with the onus on the Premier League and Football Association to make sure none fall under.

Maguire said: “It’s not just clubs in League One and League Two but clubs in the National League as well. They have commitments with player contracts which are very difficult to circumvent.

“I think the staff members, back office and support staff and so on, will be on shorter notice periods and therefore there is going to be the risk of redundancies unless there is financial support from within the industry itself.

“I think we have to be candid here: it’s not going to come from central or local government, it’s not going to come from any other sources.

“It’s therefore up to the football industry and perhaps the Football Association and Premier League to offer some sort of assistance because these clubs will cease to exist if we’re not too careful.

“We have already seen clubs being unable to pay wages during the course of the season under traditional football when matches are taking place. If we’ve now got going to have a resumption – the three weeks figure that has been quoted is very optimistic – for the foreseeable future, in terms of cash flow, clubs are going to be markedly down, in terms of six figures each in League One and League Two. That gap has to be plugged.”





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