By now we're all too familiar with the impact the Coronavirus is having on our daily lives, but as the days turn into weeks and the weeks potentially into months, the financial ramifications of this global pandemic become hard to ignore. As football fans, that will likely come home to roost in how much money our chosen clubs have to spend. With some sources estimating that players and clubs values could drop by as much as 28%, we're indeed entering uncharted waters.
With matches and leagues long since postponed, the folks at UEFA remain—not quite adamant—but at least non-committal about the resumption of play in 2020. On those matters and so much more, UEFA convened a video conference with its member nations, releasing the following updates earlier today. Aside from wiping out all international play schedule through June, UEFA dropped a tiny Financial Fair Play nugget at the end of the press release:
The Executive Committee reiterated its full commitment to club licensing and Financial Fair Play and agreed that the current exceptional circumstances necessitate some specific interventions to facilitate the work of member associations and clubs.
It supports the proposal to give member associations more time to complete the club licensing process, until the admission process for next season’s UEFA club competitions has been redefined.
As a result of the increasing uncertainty generated by the ongoing extraordinary events, the Executive Committee also decided to suspend the club licensing provisions that relate to the preparation and assessment of clubs’ future financial information. This decision applies exclusively for participation in the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.
Now, as far as legal matters are concerned, I'm on par with Lionel Hutz, but it seems like UEFA just gave clubs a tremendous amount of wiggle room for FFP for the 2020-2021 cycle. Given that so many clubs FFP lives hinge on European qualification, it was a logical move. With so much uncertainty about the future of the Europa League and Champions Leagues, now and next season, removing that piece from the FFP puzzle should provide clubs leeway as they prepare to return to normalcy—whenever that might occur.
We have no idea if this will lead to a summer of unbridled spending, particularly when you consider the hit clubs have taken on the revenue front the past several weeks, but it should make Roma's situation even more...intriguing? exciting? disastrous? confusing?
The Coronavirus hasn't halted the rumor cycle, but the actual transfer season is anyone's guess, and this suspension of FFP could be a blessing in disguise or a curse for leagues that already lack parity. But with Roma's sale still up in the air, we have no idea where they'll fall on that spectrum.