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The Heartbreaking Impact of Covid-19 on Soccer

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Rangers FC center back Filip Helander. Photo: The Herald (Scotland)

By Johan Helander |

Soccer of the highest quality is back, and it is fair to say that we have all been waiting patiently. However, it is not the same soccer that we left back in March. We are still missing the packed stadium, the roaring atmosphere, and the euphoria that erupts after your favorite team has won. The empty stadiums have given rise to serious consequences. Consequences that teams from all over the world are now suffering from. Will they survive?

In Scotland, many teams have been severely affected by these consequences. Rangers FC, the club with the most domestic league titles, have been forced to cut their players salaries in order to keep the club functioning. Filip Helander, however, is optimisEtic about the future.

“We are all in this situation together and even though it is unfortunate (to cut the salaries), it is something that we will gladly do for the incredible staff at Rangers FC, so that they can keep their jobs, and so this wonderful club can function as it should,” said star center back and Swedish international, Filip Helander, about the current situation that Rangers FC faces. Having said that, not all clubs in Scotland have been doing this well.

Since the TV money in Scottish soccer is not comparable to the bigger leagues in Europe, the majority of the teams in the top flight of Scottish soccer have really been struggling. Right now, the pain is real for many clubs, and the cash is being burned up with no redemption in sight.

Many teams have expressed their worries and some even claim that they could go under within a few months if the league is continued to be played without any fans. This is particularly worrying for teams outside the top flight of Scottish Soccer. Since teams from lower leagues rarely get any TV money, they usually have to rely on the revenue from match tickets. In today’s situation, that puts these teams in a troublesome situation. For instance, Stenhousemuir, a small, fourth-tier team who plays in the Scottish League 2, are as of right now, projected to lose approximately $129,000 this term if fans do not return by the end of the season. If that were to happen, Stenhousemuir, like many other teams in the same position, could go under.

It is heartbreaking to see the impacts of Covid-19 on soccer all over the world. The risk of small clubs going under is looking more and more likely as time passes, and if fans are not allowed into the stadiums any time soon, many long-established teams will face bankruptcy and extinction. This would not only impact the staff and the players of the teams, but also the fans. Even if they might not struggle financially, the fans have dedicated all their lives to see their club fight for championships and glory, and for them to have that taken away from them would, indeed be heartbreaking.

Johan Helander is a Swedish student at the University of Evansville. Helander is a sports fanatic majoring in Sports Communications. Filip Helander, the Rangers FC player featured in this article, is Johan’s older brother.

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