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European professional football clubs and the fear of two types of viruses

Viruses are always dangerous because they affect not only health but also all aspects of society, and football is not also an exception. In the football history, there have been 2 types of viruses haunting professional football clubs: coronavirus (Covid-19) and "Virus FIFA". These kinds of viruses can damage the ambitions of football clubs despite the careful preparation.
By: Leey
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1. Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious one caused by a virus, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease quickly spread to Europe prior to spring 2020 and has had serious effects on European football clubs.

The first influence is the loss of force.

From 7/12/2021 to 14/12/2021, up to 42 Premier League players and staff tested positive for COVID-19. Coronavirus (Covid-19) prevented many high-profile players from playing or their form also could not be optimized after testing negative for COVID-19.

Kylian Mbappe tested positive for COVID-19 on September 8, 2020, preventing him from representing France in the UEFA Nations League match against Croatia. He was actually the seventh PSG player to catch the virus and he was not at his peak fitness after recovering.

In another case, Paul Pogba also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in the most recent round of testing, one week before Manchester United had first match in the Premier League 2020/21. Even, after he recovered, he did not have full match fitness due to a lack of training that seriously affected the result of Manchester United.

The Brazilian superstar Neymar, along with six other players, also contracted coronavirus that led to PSG’s loss in their first game of the season against RC Lens.

Two stars, Ronaldo and Messi, are not also exceptions in the spread of COVID-19. Two superstars announced, respectively, that they tested positive for the coronavirus, which influenced their playing schedules.

Moreover, COVID-19 made the schedule of clubs change dramatically.

The Premier League 2020/2021 had to "hang the yard" 3 months due to the effects of the pandemic. Many matches such as matches between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton, Eventon and Manchester City, Newscastle United and Aston Villa  such as matches between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton, Eventon and Manchester City, Newscastle United and Aston Villa were postponed because of the increase in the number of players contracted to COVID-19.

The coronavirus also causes a financial crisis for European clubs.

According to KPMG, 20 of Europe’s biggest clubs lost more than €1bn in revenue over the past years, in which an 18.5% decline in revenue at Manchester United, 12.3% at Tottenham and 7.9% at Liverpool, the number of Celtic was 15.5%, and Porto had the continent’s biggest drop, at 50.5%.

The reason for this change is that COVID-19 made the ticket sales of clubs decrease dramatically. The players had to play for a year in front of empty stands, cooled by cheers for a long time. The plan allowing fans to return in very small numbers to parts of the country also quickly evaporated. Many clubs had to refund money for season ticket holders and were unable to sell individual tickets. This reduced ticket revenues by about 20-25 percent for 2019/20, as well as the attractiveness of matches in the 2020/21 season.

The revenue from broadcasts also declined because of COVID-19. The broadcast contract is a great deal for clubs in the football industry. The match had to be postponed due to the spread of the Corona virus, which led to the outrage from the broadcasters. Therefore, to solve the situation that the matches do not take place as the contract, the clubs are forced to discount the international broadcasters a large amount of money. 

Moreover, clubs still have to pay the salaries of the players instead of not generating revenue, leading to significant financial difficulties.

2. Virus FIFA

Not only viruses that affect society, but also the football history also records a type of virus that brings the fear to clubs - Virus FIFA.

The FIFA virus is a term used to jokingly categorize the injuries and fatigue that football players suffer with after playing for their countries during the international break. After travelling long distances to devote themselves to their nations and upon returning to their clubs, they are often tired or even injured, which affects the clubs a lot of time. So, the big clubs in Europe have never stopped being obsessed with the "FIFA virus".

Barcelona is a club that is seriously affected by the FIFA Virus. Just after the first day of FIFA Days in September, Barcelona received four injuries to Jules Kounde, Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, and Memphis Depay. In France's 2-0 win over Austria in the Nations League on September 23, 2012, two Barcelona stars, Jules Kounde and Dembele, were injured, respectively. Among them, Kounde's problem is more serious. The defender had to leave the field in the 25th minute and he had to come back to Barcelona to access his injury. Among the players injured, Kounde and Dembele are both mainstays of Barca at the moment and have made great contributions to their sublimation in recent times. So, Barcelona was like "on pins and needles" when hearing that their players were injured.

The clubs in the Premier League also "scare" Virus FIFA. The Premier League schedule is already very tight, and now the clubs in the foggy country still have to worry about snoring every time they "release their troops" to serve the national team. In the most recent, MU had to receive an injury to Martin Dubravka-the player joined Manchester United on final transfer day and is currently without a Manchester United debut. Although David de Gea has still shown a good performance, MU do not have many options for the goalkeeper position. So, Dubravka's injury is the bad news for the Red Devils.

The World Cup 2022 will take place in the winter, and hundreds of Premier League players will participate in this tournament. However, the Premier League not only does not have a mid-season break like other leagues, but also plays the most intensely in the period from before Christmas to the beginning of the new year. It also means that players will have to play for clubs after they dedicate themselves to the country, and there may be many cases of players returning to the Premier League after a series of international matches with exhausted physical strength and long-term injuries. That’s why teams are very concerned when their players have to travel around the world for international competitions.

Written by: Leey
Leey is the reporter for Betimate. She currently has a series of articles about football. She specializes in researching football data to come up with evaluations about the tournament and predictions about the matches.

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Premier League
Overall table PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1 Arsenal 50 19 16 2 1 45 16 29
2 Man City 45 20 14 3 3 53 20 33
3 Newcastle 39 20 10 9 1 33 11 22
4 Man Utd 39 20 12 3 5 32 25 7
5 Tottenham 36 21 11 3 7 40 31 9
6 Brighton 31 19 9 4 6 37 27 10
7 Fulham 31 21 9 4 8 32 30 2
8 Brentford 30 20 7 9 4 32 28 4
9 Liverpool 29 19 8 5 6 34 25 9
10 Chelsea 29 20 8 5 7 22 21 1
11 Aston Villa 28 20 8 4 8 23 27 -4
12 Crystal Palace 24 20 6 6 8 18 27 -9
13 Nottm Forest 21 20 5 6 9 16 35 -19
14 Leicester 18 20 5 3 12 28 35 -7
15 Leeds 18 19 4 6 9 26 33 -7
16 West Ham 18 20 5 3 12 17 25 -8
17 Wolverhampton 17 20 4 5 11 12 30 -18
18 Bournemouth 17 20 4 5 11 19 42 -23
19 Everton 15 20 3 6 11 15 28 -13
20 Southampton 15 20 4 3 13 17 35 -18