The forced restart of football – Biggest gainers and losers

The successful restart of football in  Germany last weekend was very significant. One, it signaled a formal commencement of sporting activities in one of Europe’s top football Leagues. Secondly, it’s a bold statement in the face of rising deaths due to coronavirus globally. 

As at today (20th of May),  a total of 325,421 people have died globally with Germany recording a total of 8,193 deaths accordingly to Worldometer

Globally, there are still 45,421 critical cases in the intensive care unit across the globe. 

With the German Bundesliga paving the way for the restart of football after over two months break due to the pandemic, there’s going to be serious debate as to which League will be next in line. 

The English premier league, The Italia Serie A,  The French Ligue 1, or the Spanish LA Liga? The entire football world waits in a deep breath while observing proceedings. One question everyone may wish to have an answer to is: “Who stands to gain the most in this unfolding drama? 

Biggest Gainers

TV right companies: They no doubt are the biggest gainers in the whole restart drama. Last season, all the Premier League Clubs got a total of £2.5 Million in broadcast and commercial revenue. Football indeed is big business and TV rights companies are itching to have a restart as soon as possible. 

Commercial Partners

Every Club side in European top-flight football has sponsors. These sponsors depend largely on league matches to advertise their franchise. Unfortunately, with the lockdown in place and the abrupt halt to sporting activities worldwide, these commercial partners are the worst hit and would be in the front seat agitating for the restart of the League in most countries. 

Betting Companies

Most betting companies all across the world have been on hibernation since the Coronavirus pandemic caused a halt to football. Sports betting companies like William Hill, Bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Unibet, Coral, Paddy Power, and Betfair have had their revenues drastically cut short by the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. They like TV right companies would gain a lot from the restart. 

Club owners

In the UK, a few weeks back, Arsenal Aston Villa and some other top premier league clubs agreed with their players and staff to accept a pay cut. Some other clubs placed their nonplaying staff on furlough. A decision that didn’t go well with football followers. With the possibility of a restart in the horizon, some of the club owners would be more than relieved and be among the big gainers

Image Right Companies

More than 80% of players in the top leagues in Europe have one image right deal or the other. Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah, Ronaldo, Messi all have image right deals running into millions of pounds yearly. Unfortunately, with the break-in football across the globe, these image right companies won’t be the happiest as their clients aren’t in the market. 

The more games these top players are involved in, the more goals they score, the more records they break, the more their market value increases, and the more money the image right companies make. As the restart plan gathers momentum, these companies will no doubt be amongst the biggest gainers 

The government 

Football is big business and in every country where their leagues are well organized, the government is usually beneficiaries. Take the UK for example, in the 2016/2017 football season, tax paid by premier league players was £3.3 billion. That’s a massive amount that boosted the economy. The 2018/2019 figures would no doubt be higher, based on an increase in players’ wages and some transfers made. The HMRC usually implements a pay as you earn (PAYE) regime on footballers’ wages. A total of 45% on earnings that are above £150,000 and a 2% tax on earning is also made for National Insurance contributions. 

As footballers take a pay cut and earnings from image rights and TV rights drops, so revenue to the government is seriously affected. 

The government will no doubt be among the biggest gainers when the restart is eventually implemented in most countries. 

Biggest Losers

Fans: Over the weekend in Germany when the restart was observed, no fans were allowed in all the match venues. It was a rather subdued sight as the usual buzz was missing. Fans, for now, are forced to stay out due to safety concerns and they are the number one biggest losers

In the words of top sports journalist – Oma Akatugba of omasports, “Fans are like what sugar is to tea” Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done to change the stand of football organizers in locking out fans. 


Several players have expressed fears about returning to the pitch even amid the coronavirus pandemic. As of today, Six unnamed English premier league players from Watford and Burnley have tested positive for the virus. Though assurance about testing been done twice before matches have been made, the fear of getting infected in the heart of most of these players. Troy Deeney, Watford Captain echoed these sentiments recently when he was asked if he’ll return to training: “I’m not going in. Nothing to do with financial gain, my son is five months and had breathing difficulties. I don’t want to come home and put him in more danger”

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero also expresses his concern to Argentinian TV Station El Chiringuito TV: “The majority of players are scared because they have family, they have children, they have babies,”  Speaking further, he said. “When we go back, I imagine that we will be very tense, we will be very careful and the moment someone feels ill, you will think: “What’s gone on there?” It does scare me.”

The coming days will determine if the restart of football will become a reality, or there may be further delays by football administrators in Europe. What however is clear, is that players welfare should be considered before any form of financial benefits by those who are angling for the restart by all means

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