Premier League facing at least £750million bill if season is not completed

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus - Emirates Stadium
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus, triggering a shutdown (Picture: Reuters)

The Premier League is facing a mammoth bill if the season cannot be completed after the decision was made for all professional football in England to be suspended until at least April due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As recently as Thursday evening, the Premier League were prepared to go ahead as planned with this weekend’s action as per government guidelines, but the situation changed when Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta tested positive for Covid-19.

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi also returned a positive result, with seven clubs affected by coronavirus in some capacity before the Premier League called an emergency meeting on Friday morning.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus
Arteta’s diagnosis shifted the Premier League’s attitude towards the coronavirus outbreak (Getty)

It was decided that the competition – as well as the Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship – would be put on hold until Friday April 3 at the earliest, with England’s upcoming friendlies also cancelled.

However, that date looks increasingly optimistic, with the government set to do a U-turn on their earlier advice and now ban large public gatherings including concerts and sports matches starting from next weekend.

It has been suggested that the season could be finished off in the summer – replacing Euro 2020, which is set to be pushed back a year when UEFA meet on Tuesday – or voided entirely, though Liverpool could still be crowned champions.

The desire to play out the remaining games – most clubs have nine games left, though four teams have 10 matches left to play – becomes clear when the numbers involved are revealed.

According to The Times, the Premier League could have to fork out in excess of £750million should they fail to deliver on the full 38-game season, with a cancellation of the season breaching their many broadcasting deals.

A source told the newspaper: ‘The commercial reality for the Premier League and UEFA is that if they don’t complete their seasons then they are in breach of their broadcasting contracts.

Greg Clarke, Chairman of The FA
FA chairman Greg Clarke does not believe the season can be completed (Picture: Getty)

‘You would have broadcasters from all around the world saying, “In that case we are not paying for the season.”

‘For the Premier League you are talking around £3billion income a year from overseas and domestic TV rights. There would also be financial implications if the competitions were squeezed, so fewer matches were played.’

The Times also report that FA chairman Greg Clarke, who was present at the meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs on Friday, made it clear he did not believe it would be feasible for the season to be completed.

MORE: Marcelo Bielsa refuses to give Leeds players time off amid coronavirus pandemic

MORE: World Health Organisation questions UK’s ‘herd immunity’ approach to coronavirus

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments