ECA CEO on the financial impact of COVID-19 on European clubs
The disruption COVID-19 has caused to the professional game requires football stakeholders to work cooperatively to ensure balanced and fair outcomes to benefit the game as a whole and drive towards greater safety and sustainability. In this spirit and despite the challenges this will pose to clubs, ECA accepts FIFA’s decision to replace the national team release window from 31 August to 8 September 2020 with a new window from 24 January to 1 February 2022 for all Confederations except UEFA. This additional window will allow confederations which, to date, have made clear their need to cancel the September 2020 window in addition to the already cancelled windows to reschedule competitive matches.
At the same time, ECA has made its position clear that the already congested Football calendar will not allow the creation of any further national team windows or release dates in the International Match Calendar, beyond the windows that are now in place.
Finally, the on-going pandemic and the compressed Football calendar require that the health, safety and well-being of players be carefully managed and protected. This requires the implementation of agreed guidelines setting out key principles for the protection of the health and safety of players and which include managing the risks of travelling for competitions as well as adhering to minimum rest and retraining periods. Such guidelines will be essential in ensuring the right balance is struck in allowing competitions to be played in a condensed calendar, whilst maximizing all efforts to protect players from the risks of ill-health and injury.