European football’s governing bodies have told the continent’s top domestic league that it’s of “paramount importance” to finish their seasons, if possible.
A joint letter was sent by UEFA, the European Club Association and the European Leagues to their members in making that request.
The letter comes on the heels of Belgium’s first division cancelling the remainder of their season and declaring league leaders Club Brugge as champions.
Player contracts complicate league completion
There are many complicating factors to domestic leagues finishing their respective seasons this summer. Chief among those factors are player contracts. As Gab Marcotti discussed on the latest ESPN FC podcast and has written, approximately 20% of all footballers have contracts that expire on June 30, 2020. All loan deals would end by then as well. Any season that extends past June 30th would require a reworking of those contracts.
While governing bodies are outlining potential solutions, resolution must be reached before play resumes.
UEFA confident football will resume by summer
The joint letter certainly sounds confident that the COVID-19 pandemic will settle by summer:
“Stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season. We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.”
UEFA even lobs a warning shot at leagues if they do not finish their season by stating they have the right to “assess the entitlement of clubs” for Champions League and Europa League qualification.