Amidst the devastation to the sporting landscape caused by the necessary suspension of all sporting fixtures due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, football lies there empty and vacuous. What had people flocking through the turnstiles is now on pause and there is much uncertainty in its place. According to an article in The Athletic, some of that uncertainty could be about to be wound back.
In an article ostensibly about how FIFA will be releasing news in the next 48 hours about extending the current season indefinitely comes other news that will clarify other uncertainties that fans had – player contracts and transfers. It is these last two points, alongside the kickstarting of the current season, that have occupied fans’ thoughts the most these past weeks.
Football contracts traditionally run until June 30, ending the day before the summer transfer traditionally opens on July 1. That would all be thrown into utter chaos in the current situation what with there being no real date set for the resumption of the current season. Many are likely right to point out that the current state with contracts running out on June 30 could come before the season formally resumes and they have been asking for some form of clarification.
The Athletic’s article, co-authored by Simon Hughes, Laurie Whitwell and Adam Crafton, mention that FIFA, football’s world body, “will also alter the dates of the summer transfer window and permit contract extensions for players whose deals run out on June 30.” The reasoning behind this is to create maximum flexibility with the spread of coronavirus affecting countries in different ways.
This from FIFA will give some clarity but there are some questioning whether it will be clarity enough bearing in mind that there is no season start date signalled and whether clubs can afford to extend contracts and pay wages with no income streams coming to aforementioned clubs.