At the present moment, the only priority for professional clubs is somehow finding a way to finish the current season without simultaneously completely derailing the 2020/21 campaign.
In his typically forthright style, La Liga president Javier Tebas has been more upfront than any other administrator, admitting that a failure to finish the season would come with a financial cost in the region of €1 billion. Forfeiting such a sum is not an option, and it’s clear that doing whatever it takes to get the necessary games played is the only present preoccupation for the game’s hierarchy.
When the dust settles, however, thoughts will turn to the future – and specifically towards how leagues and clubs can protect themselves against the likelihood of similar crises in the future.
One possibility is that recent events will have a levelling effect, bringing together a diverse range of interests for the greater good of the game. The four German clubs competing in this season’s Champions League, for example, have already announced they will each donate €20 million to ease the burden on other Bundesliga clubs, giving a hopeful sign that an altruistic ‘We’re all in this together’ mentality could flourish in the coming weeks.
Sadly, though, it’s unlikely that such a generous spirit will prevail for too long. Unless there is very strong leadership from the top of the game – which seems highly unlikely considering the questionable ethical practices of FIFA and UEFA – it won’t be long before we witness a return to the dominance of naked self-interest, which is in many ways inherent within the ultra-competitive environment of professional sport.
Realistically, it is unavoidable to accept that the needs and demands of Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool are very different from those of Eibar, Sassuolo, Nantes and Watford.