News   |    July 21st, 2021

Good Citizen Kane!

Since the onset of Covid-19 players, especially those in the Premiership, have taken an unfair degree of criticism from politicians and the wider media as to their level of financial support for charities and good causes.

A decision on how anyone wishes to donate to good causes is very much an individual one and no player should be bullied into whatever he or she decides is right for them. Look at all the multi-national companies who pay little or no tax in this country for starters. The truth is footballers are an easy target and multi-nationals are tied up in complex structures where there is no one individual to easily target in the way footballers are.

This week, England Captain Harry Kane took everybody by surprise by agreeing to personally sponsor Leyton Orient’s kit and allowing good causes to advertise on the shirts thereby giving the charities involved the opportunity to raise additional funds. At the same time there is widespread concern in the professional game that with matches being played to empty stadia that the loss of income will herald the demise of many famous old clubs in the EFL and gestures like Kane’s will go some way to providing vital income to help clubs like Leyton Orient survive so hats off to Harry. It is a very clever way to kill two birds with one stone so to speak and he deserves all the credit that will now come his way.

It seems that the Premier League and EFL are no closer to resolving the issues of when and where the season will start for all clubs in all leagues. Two weeks ago, it seemed that Leagues One and Two would not re-start this season and that the promotion and relegation issues would be solved by applying a points per game formula from games already played to the remaining matches. Now it appears clubs at that level are having a rethink. Players across the leagues are also seeking assurances that their safety and wellbeing will be assured as many will be nervous about not being able to social distance, particularly in a match setting, and then possibly taking the virus home to loved ones.

At the same time Premier League clubs want to restart and some are already back in training, but they cannot agree if the games should be played at neutral grounds or at their home venues. There are huge risks of course in staging vital promotion and relegation matches at home stadia. Imagine those matches where Liverpool FC or Leeds United FC are playing matches to secure the Premier League and Championship titles respectively and it is not hard to predict that some supporters will congregate outside the grounds giving the Police a real headache to deal with. The atmosphere of a full home stadium does impact upon the matches, but I am not so sure that is so much the case when a ground is empty.

Whatever happens decision time is fast approaching and deadlines set by the European authorities will need to be met so now is the time for common sense to prevail.

For more information contact marber@integralsportsmanagement.co.uk

Mark Arber - Integral Sports Management

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