Coronavirus wrap: PL clubs ‘face £1billion loss’ while another F1 race goes

·5 min read

Football’s governing bodies continued to scramble a response to the coronavirus crisis while the Canadian Grand Prix became the ninth Formula One race to be postponed.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters warned the pandemic could cost the competition and its clubs £1billion FIFA announced measures designed to extend players’ contracts and move the transfer window while the Professional Footballers’ Association insisted its members will “play their part”.

Masters’ stark financial warning came in a letter to Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

Premier League
The Premier League have issued a stark financial warning (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Masters wrote: “We face a £1billion loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019-20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.

FIFA approved the extension of player contracts until campaigns are able to finish, while transfer windows will be allowed to move “so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season”.

FIFA said “it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end”, while deals due to come into force in the next campaign would be “delayed until the next season actually does start”.

PFA boss Gordon Taylor said Premier League players will “play their part” in discussions over wage cuts, despite initial discussions having hit a stumbling block.

“They’ve all agreed to play their part,” Taylor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding that players are “responsible enough” to know wages are a factor in any club’s expenditure.

Elsewhere, the Canadian Grand Prix has become the latest Formula 1 race to be postponed.

A statement from organisers on the official F1 website read: “We would have been honoured to host the first race on the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship calendar, but we are saddened to have to announce the postponement of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix 2020 scheduled for June 12-13-14 2020.”

A date for the rearranged date has yet to be announced, but F1 chairman Chase Carey said they hoped to “put on a great show when we arrive later this year”.

Sunderland have furloughed first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff.

The Black Cats became the second Sky Bet League One club after Portsmouth to utilise the Government’s job retention scheme to cover 80 per cent of employees’ wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Sunderland added there was “no intention to ask any players or staff to take a wage reduction or deferral on their salary” and that all employees will be paid in full.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Sunderland AFC can today confirm that its first-team players, contracted academy players and backroom staff have recently been placed on furlough leave due to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A small number of staff, including manager Phil Parkinson, continue to work from home, and the club’s priority remains the health and wellbeing of its players, staff, supporters and local community during this unprecedented period.”

Two more MotoGP events have been postponed. The Italian Grand Prix on May 29-31 and Catalan Grand Prix on June 5-7 have both been called off.

A statement from organisers read: “As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these grands prix, as well as the recently-postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events.”

The Mercedes F1 team will start delivery of up to 10,000 new breathing devices to the NHS this week – part of Formula One’s Project Pitlane scheme to help fight coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were developed by engineers at Mercedes, University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL Hospital.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty will take part in a virtual bike race on Wednesday to raise money for the NHS.

The 2016 gold medallist will race the 100km ride along with Commonwealth Games boxer Callum Johnson at 10am via virtual racing platform Zwift.

The 25-year-old was preparing to defend his 100m breaststroke crown won at Rio four years ago before the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed.