(Updated March 26)
The question of how the coronavirus is going to affect the English football leagues is obviously on many people’s minds. I have some basic Q&A below, and I’m tracking the latest news.
Update March 27: The Athletic (paywall): Behind-the-scenes consensus building to cancel Premier League season.
Update March 26: Much of non-league English football abandons season, voids all results. This means that below tier 6 of the English Football Pyramid, it will be as if this season never happened: no promotions, no relegations, no trophies. It will be “as you were” for next season — whenever that is.
Meanwhile, tiers 1 through 6 – that’s the Premier League, Football League, and National League — still hope to finish their season, somehow and some time.
Update March 23: Players assuming games will go on without supporters.
Update March 18: The Athletic: Trying to work out how (or if) the current season might be finished.
Update March 17: European Championships put off until 2021
Update March 15: BBC: Q&A on what this could mean for promotion, relegation, trophies, and next season.
Many people are deciding not to travel, including some who had already bought tickets and are hoping to get a refund.
So I thought I would put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions, with a few disclaimers:
- I am in no way a health professional, nor do I have any experience whatsoever with epidemiology.
- I have no special insight from the clubs, brokers, or any governmental agencies.
- Some of what I will share is my own personal opinion, based on nothing more than that.
- This is not the place for up-to-the-minute information, but I will try to provide links to those places.
Is it safe to go to Europe or the UK right now?
The State Department has issued a level-4 do not travel alert.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently says to avoid all non-essential travel to Europe. Click here for the latest
Another great source is the World Health Organization. Here is their page for daily updates.
If I have a ticket for a game that’s been postponed, do I get a refund?
Whoever you bought your ticket from, contact them.
My policy is that 100% of any refund that comes my way will be passed along to people who bought from me, as a refund or credit towards future purchases.
If I have a ticket and decide not to go, even though the game happens with supporters, do I get a refund?
If you bought from the club, ask them, but I doubt it. If you bought from a third party, same thing.
If you bought from me, the normal policy is we try to resell your tickets and get you as much of a refund as we can. London games do better than Liverpool/Manchester games, but this market has now completely died anyway.
What will become of the season — the championships, promotions, relegations, etc.?
Nobody knows. But the leagues are desperate to finish the season, even if it means playing all summer without fans in the stadiums.
Are clubs going to close because of this?
Since most lower-league clubs depending massively on ticket sales for revenue, I think so. This is like a tsunami hitting the world of soccer, and some things are just no going to survive. Many clubs have already laid people off, and some are asking players to take a pay cut.
Here is a good video on the economic impact on English clubs: