Champions: The fear of the great European clubs: the Champions League is in danger | Champions League 2019

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Thursday,
two
April
2020

01:49

The main actors are pessimistic about the return of the great competition to be played in several countries at once.


Oblak clears the ball at the last Liverpool-Attic in Anfield.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

We are in total uncertainty, we depend on the evolution of the pandemic. To contemplate, we contemplatescenarios ranging from starting on May 10 to starting on June 28. The top leader of one of the three great Spanish clubs, confined at home like everyone else, spends four mobile batteries each day. Like him, the capos of the other important Spanish (and European) clubs. They are in permanent contact. Beyond the decisions being signed by UEFA, or the Federations, or the Leagues,they are the ones who fundamentally substantiate them. In these almost three weeks of closure, and being aware of the volatility of their forecasts, they have designed half a dozen competition calendars with(some) certainties and a fear.

The Champions League is what is most in danger, the top executive of another of the great Spanish clubs slides. Not playing it is a lot of money, but it doesn’t make any difference next year, he insists. The fear, shared by the rest of the clubs, is based on thecurrent situation of the borders of European countries. With more or less forceful restrictions (Spain has closed its land borders and does not admit flights from Italy, for example),it does not seem easy to move entire teams to play what remains, which are four games of the second round of the second leg, round trip of the quarterfinals, round trip of the semifinals and the final, scheduled without a date in Istanbul.

Other clubs are somewhat (slightly) more optimistic.It is true that this is a problem, although we believe that being an all or nothing. Either it resumes and everything ends, or nothing resumes or ends nothing, they proclaim from theAtlético de Madrid. The importance of the Champions League for the clubs’ safe is more than known, but to underline it, one fact would suffice: with official numbers from the 18/19 season, the last one that has ended, we can see how theBara(eliminated in the semifinals by Liverpool),117,730millions of euros. HeReal Madrid and the Atlantic(eliminated in the round of 16 by Ajax and Juventus), they collected85.03 and 85.56. Percentages all of them estimated in their budgets. Therefore, everyone is attentive to the evolution of the disease, which does not keep the same rhythm in all countries. In this regard, the cases of England, where they intuit an outbreak in the coming weeks, and of Germany, where development is unknown, are of particular concern. Thecancellation, Wednesday, from WimbledonIt was another worrying sign, because it is hard to think of a scenario where in July, in England, you cannot play tennis, but you can play football.

Eight weeks

What Real Madrid, Atlético and Barcelona coincide in is that it takes eight weeks to finish the competitions. In the case of the League, they are11 days, to be contested at two per week, which will be at least six weeks. And, afterwards, because in parallel it would be almost impossible for the Champions League, which for the champion would require an effort of five games (six for those who have not completed the eighth).But there is no other option, insist the sources consulted. There is a surprising detail in their speeches: they want to respect as far as possible the soccer players’ holidays, whenever they are, handling September as the most likely scenario.Why Simple, for fear of injury and because everyone will want to reach the Euro Cup and the Copa América(By the way, the big leagues are committed toUEFA and Conmebol to end the 2020/2021 season on May 23next year).

What seems already accepted by all is that there will be no Christmas break, nor will there be hardly any distance between the group stage ofChampions 20/21 and the knockout stages. That paron that now runs from early December to mid-February is also a victim of the coronavirus. There will be practically games during the week from when we start until May next year, they insist, and that yes, they differ in one point. While the majority assumes that all these matches will be played behind closed doors,Barcelona sources insist that it must be with the public. From the Camp Nou they are in favor of delaying the start of games for a week if it helps to have people in the stands, an important source of income in the accounts of the Barça club. Thus, and if everything goes well,there will be alidn in the middle of summer.

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