How football club management has changed due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created several difficulties that football clubs must deal with in order to continue to operate during this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created several difficulties that football clubs must deal with in order to continue to operate during this time.

The many complexities of a football club make it difficult enough to manage in normal circumstances.

Smaller or lower division clubs will be aiming to survive the pandemic while the bigger clubs will be looking for ways to continue to prosper.

In April, Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO James Johnson was unable to guarantee the survival of all A-League clubs.

“Do I think that all the clubs will make it through? I think that’s too early to say at the moment,” he said.

While the A-League season did go ahead making it more likely that all clubs will survive, the pandemic and a reduced broadcasting deal present a significant financial problem for clubs.

Football League chairman Rick Parry made similar statements in June regarding League One and Two clubs who are unsure of playing without crowds due to the decreased revenue.

“The aim is to make sure all the clubs survive, and we will be working 24 hours a day to make sure they do,” he said.

“We can’t give guarantees. Who knows whether we have seen the end of this crisis or whether there is going to be a second spike. But our aim, our avowed aim, and we will be giving it our very best shot, is to make sure the EFL comes through this stronger than we are at the moment.”

With no end date to the pandemic in sight, there are several areas in which football clubs will have to change or adapt to going forward.


The football industry is not the only industry feeling the impacts of COVID-19. Current and potential sponsors for football clubs are likely to be facing financial hardship too.

Southampton are reportedly set to lose club sponsor LD Sports. The deal with LD Sports is worth £7.5million a year.

Managing Director of League Two team Oldham Athletic Natalie Atkinson told fcbusiness that the football club’s commercial income will now be completely different.

“We have to be more creative about what our matchday sponsorship looks like, our LED, our short and shirt and stadium sponsorship looks like because if we play behind closed doors they’re not going to get that fan exposure,” she said.

Although it is not all bad news for football clubs, last week Leeds United signed its largest ever commercial deal with sports betting company SBOTOP.

Fan Engagement

The main way that fans support their football team is by attendance at matches. With it being either not possible or only going ahead in limited numbers, clubs have to find other ways to engage with their supporters.

Manchester United has been providing fans with activity worksheets and video challenges via the club’s website.

TV and Broadcast Deals

COVID-19 has also created problems for football leagues. Due to lockdowns and games being unable to be played, revenue from broadcasting deals has been cut.

In America the MLS took the approach of playing a tournament titled ‘MLS is Back’ before its regular season restarts.

These extra games will be a way of making back some of that lost revenue money.

The MLS also took the opportunity of not having fans to instead install extra cameras and a big screen to display extra visuals and statistics to TV viewers.

“How we can look at really leaning into audio and all of the sounds that we wouldn’t get the benefit of hearing because of the crowd,” ESPN VP of production Amy Rosenfeld said.

“Our approach has been taking the negative of not having fans, which is such an intrinsic part of soccer, but then creating an authentic, immersive experience for the audience as if they were there and really giving them access to dialogue that we would never get access to.”

While COVID-19 has had many negative consequences, football can and does need to make the most of its opportunities to continue to remain strong after the pandemic.

Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

CONMEBOL: Biennial World Cup ‘unviable’

CONMEBOL, South America’s continental governing body, has been the latest governing body to condemn FIFA’s calls for a biennial World Cup.

South America’s continental governing body has been the latest to condemn FIFA’s calls for a biennial World Cup.

CONMEBOL, the South America Football Confederation, has backflipped on the issue after initially supporting the idea, claiming it is a “highly unviable” idea.

The statement comes following a technical analysis and consultation with football leaders in South America.

The statement issued by CONMEBOL raised a range of issues with the proposal, including strain on players.

“A World Cup every two years could distort the most important football competition on the planet, lowering its quality and undermining its exclusive character and its current demanding standards,” the statement read.

“The World Cup is an event that attracts the attention and expectations of billions of people because it represents the culmination of a process of elimination that lasts the entire four-year period and has its own dynamics and appeal.

“A World Cup every two years would represent an overload that is practically impossible to manage in the international competition calendar. In the current conditions, it is already complex to harmonise times, schedules, logistics, adequate preparation of equipment and commitments. The situation would be extremely difficult with the proposed change. It could even put the quality of other tournaments, both club and national, at risk.”

Other than the risks to players, CONMEBOL suggested that a biennial event would detract from the occasion.

“The idea of ​​the World Cup is to bring together the most talented footballers, the most outstanding coaches and the most trained referees to determine, in a fair competition, which is the best team on the planet. This cannot be achieved without proper preparation, without teams developing their skills and coaches designing and implementing strategies,” it said.

“All of this translates into time, training sessions, planning, games. CONMEBOL defends the search for excellence in the field of play and is committed to increasingly competitive events of the highest quality. There is no sporting justification for shortening the period between World Cups.

“For the approval of a change of this nature, a broad and participatory process of consultations with all the actors involved is essential. It must be the fruit of a frank debate, in which all opinions and criteria are considered. CONMEBOL is and will always be open to dialogue that seeks the best for football.”

FIFA is seemingly determined to move forward with its plans for a biennial World Cup, despite ongoing opposition.

$1.5 million in fee relief provided to Football NSW Associations and Clubs

Football NSW

To help consolidate losses related to the premature cancellation of the 2021 Winter Football season due to COVID-19, Football NSW has announced $1.5 million in fee relief for its Associations and Clubs.

The Football NSW Board identified the need to provide support to its Associations and Clubs to ensure their ongoing solvency and assist them through these challenging times.

And in spite of the difficult circumstances for all stakeholders involved in the game, Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge credited the strength of football in coming through previous Covid-enforced lockdowns.

“As we have stated previously, our player numbers can only continue to grow, and football can only remain the most popular participant sport in NSW, if there is sustained financial viability at each tier of the game,” Hodge said.

“The sustainability of a healthy Association and Club framework is fundamental to our continued development and maintaining our capacity to progress and achieve our lofty ambitions.

“With this in mind, and on the recommendation of management, the Board resolved to provide a discount on the Football NSW Capitation Fee for the 2021 Winter season.

Hodge acknowledged the hardworking efforts of each of the Associations and Clubs who have been resilient in the face of the COVID-affected season.

“I want to acknowledge the dedication of our volunteers, administrators, players, referees and coaches that enabled us to still deliver part of a football season,” he said.

“Once again, the Football NSW community has come together to support each other and keep our participants and their families safe, something I feel that’s been truly inspiring.

“Football is a vital part of the lives of our players and other participants, but also vital to our communities.

“Thank you all for your work to keep things going through this period of disruption.”

Football in NSW played a leading role in ensuring the community, and sport as a whole, did their bit in fast tracking a return to sport via the recent NSW Health initiative, ‘Super Sport Sunday’.

“Our collective commitment to a safer community was evident in our recent initiative to offer our facilities as vaccination hubs to the NSW Government,” Hodge said.

“What started as an offer of facilities quickly evolved into a request from NSW Health for football to mobilise its community in certain regions where vaccination rates were desperately needed to be increased.

“Answering the call, we led a campaign for football participants in those regions to get vaccinated and engaged other sports to join as we created a ‘Super Sport Sunday’ for vaccinations at Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA).

“We have since been briefed that the campaign helped set a new single day record of vaccinations at SOPA, with many people wearing the jerseys of their favourite football clubs.

“This is another good example of how, as a code and a football family, we are leaders in our communities and, when we work together, we can achieve great things.”

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