How long will it take for LaLiga return to normal?

How long will it take for LaLiga return to normal?
Adapting to a new norm has been the buzzphrase of the coronavirus pandemic. After being put on pause for three months, football has slowly returned across Europe. LaLiga resumed live action last week, but some clubs are trying to keep their heads above water without the fans.

Barcelona tried to fill the void as they created a fan mosaic at the Nou Camp for the visit of Leganes on Tuesday to replicate an authentic match day atmosphere, even though it may not have created the same buzz.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, have been playing behind closed doors at their training ground complex while the Santiago Bernabeu is currently undergoing a renovation.

Revenues have flatlined in Spain's top-flight due to the lack of ticket sales and there is a grave fear that the financial ramifications of Covid-19 will be felt for some time to come.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have largely managed to cushion themselves against the financial fall-out of the pandemic by introducing wage cuts for players to save costs. There have been fears that LaLiga could face a revenue hit of up to €800m (£710m) due to stadiums being closed off to the public.

Although the National Professional Football League will recollect all of the money as Spain's top flight will be able to honour its broadcasting contracts, the stark reality of Covid-19 is one of financial turmoil.

LaLiga president, Javier Tebas, has been cautiously optimistic that stadiums may be reopened to the fans before the end of the season, although he accepts that due to social distancing, they won't be at full capacity.

He said: "Of course it won't be the entire stadium and there will be special precautionary measures.

"If we can have even 10% or 15% by the end of the season, if that happens we will be very happy about that because that's a sign that we are getting back to some form of normality.

"When we celebrate will be when we actually finish the competitions, both the First Division and the Second Division. This crisis still hasn't come to an end."

But with strict social distancing measures in place in Spain, it could be some time before we see mass gatherings at football matches again.

Away from the element of fans being able to attend games, there is likely to be limited activity on the transfer front in LaLiga this summer. Clubs won't be able to spend in the manner they have done in years gone by and marquee signings will be put on hold.

Tebas has suggested that it could take up to three years for things to get back to normal in LaLiga. While that seems like a conservative estimate, it provides an alarming picture of the financial bloodbath that football has suffered over the past few months.

At the moment, football is at a crossroads and we don't know what is lurking around the corner. These are critical times and while LaLiga clubs will pull through this mess, it could be a while before things get back to the way they were.

 

Written by Charles Perrin

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