By Darren Casserly
We all know that sport is no where near a top priority during this crisis, yet with all this free time to think, you really have to wonder how the sporting world, like the rest of the industries, will be able to cope with these unthinkable setbacks.
UEFA has given all the European leagues until the 30th of June to complete their seasons, which will give clubs and leagues not just logistical headaches, but financial ones too, with games coming thick and fast once the seasons resume. The loss of gate receipts and TV revenue will be a hard one to take for the Premier League and the Football League, while the Airtricity League at home will take a huge hit financially. Many League of Ireland clubs have already stopped paying their players and staff and have received €25,000 from former League of Ireland players, yet, even when the league starts up again, it will be a question of how many will feel safe enough to come to the games, and unlike the Premier League, gate receipts could mean the difference between the club going broke or not. This season looks to be a make or break for the future of the league and could potentially spell disaster if it does not follow the already tight deadline the FAI has set out for them, with the completion of the league now being in December, which, from a weather point of view, is already risky.
On the GAA sides of things, this is one of their best proponents for staying as an amateur sport, as, from a monetary standpoint, the GAA is risk free in comparison to soccer. However, from a fixture point of view, this is a disaster, as the GAA runs a pretty tight schedule even in the best of times, with some level of GAA taking place all year round and a serious amount of either fixture reshuffling or cancellation is needed for not just this year’s championship, but this will have a knock on effect into next year. This could also be a great opportunity for the GAA to try and fix a broken fixture system, especially from a football point of view and make the year more manageable for even the busiest of players.
Around the world, there is confusion over how different sports will deal with this, so much so that the Olympics may have to be postponed as Euro 2020 already has been, which destroys many athletes’ preparations for the Games, which many have been planning for the last four years.
However, no matter how you think the sporting world will survive, this is clearly nowhere near the most important thing in the world now and while it may take months if not years for sports to recover from this, it will recover and we can finally watch live sport again, which is what millions like me have been waiting for.