Ein view of football Europe: In Italy, the players’ union had actually agreed with the managers of the Serie A clubs this Monday to talk about the further course of the season and wage cuts. However, after the groups had coordinated with each other, the meeting was canceled in the face of the existential crisis in which the country is located and the sobering fact that Serie A still has twelve games to play with a total of 120 games. No new appointment was made. The situation is too bleak. Since then it has been possible to say in Italian football what is otherwise unspeakable in European professional football: that the problem of a season break must be taken into account, taking into account the sporting results and contracts, as the President of the Italian Players Union put it. Some club owners also face this fact just as clearly.
The European Football Union (Uefa) is currently focusing not least on countries such as Italy and Spain, which are particularly badly affected by the pandemic and whose league operations are more than just on the brink. Because the question of when the ball will roll through Europe again in the UEFA competitions and how the Champions and Europa League can still be brought to an end this season always depends on the state of the national leagues.
If Serie A or the Spanish La Liga, in which there are still eleven games to play, went to their knees, this would also have an impact on European football. The national leagues secure basic funding for the professional clubs. Uefa had already taken this fact into account last month when it postponed the European Championship by a year in order to give leagues the much-needed time until the end of June, perhaps to bring their seasons to an end.
Champions League and Europa League
With this in mind, Uefa also coordinated its next steps at a video conference on Wednesday with the general secretaries of its 55 member associations. The final rounds of the Champions League and the Europa League are to be continued at an unspecified time. Probably not until midsummer, i.e. after the possible end of league operations on June 30th. However, numerous professional contracts end on this date, for which again a solution would also have to be found with the International Football Association (Fifa). The international match dates originally planned for early June were also postponed to autumn as expected.
In the Champions League are still four round of 16 second legs, including for Bayern against Chelsea. In the round of 16 of the Europa League, in which Leverkusen, Frankfurt and Wolfsburg are represented, all second legs would have to be played. The association had postponed the finals in Istanbul and Gdansk indefinitely, just like the continuation of its two competitions, in the previous month.
“We do not yet know what further developments in England, Spain, France, Italy will look like. There is already great uncertainty. Uefa has an extremely difficult task, ”says Christian Seifert, the managing director of the German Football League (DFL). “The health situation is of course different in the different countries. Therefore, the status of individual countries can be different. We have the advantage in Germany that we have a better financial substance compared to other leagues in Europe. But of course we have the same questions as the other leagues: who is going up and down? And who comes into international business? “
It is certain that in the event of season breaks, exactly these regulations must be found so that in the upcoming European Cup season, whenever it can start, all eligible nations can also send their teams. “We must have a certain amount of flexibility in the coming season,” says Seifert, who is in close contact with the leaders of the other top European leagues. “There will be a few grumbles next season, but we have to be flexible about that. I can’t say yet whether that will lead to a detoxification of the system, ”said Seifert at the DFL press conference on Tuesday. “The season 2021/22 will probably have the regular schedule again.”
Seifert sees the Bundesliga better prepared for the crisis than some other leagues, however, that “it has an economically completely different financial substance. We have better prerequisites than others in Europe. ”Seifert took this impression from the discussions with the“ media partners ”, which took place“ at a different level ”in Germany. But the fact is also: “We talk a lot about solidarity in Germany. It will also take a certain amount of solidarity in Europe that we agree to help each other out of trouble. ”