How Has COVID-19 Impacted Football in Europe?

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Football in Europe?

In the third and final part of this series: Sevilla direc­tor of foot­ball Monchi shares his expert insight on how the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic has affect­ed foot­ball in Europe, as well as shar­ing ideas on how leagues could resume play again.

Read in Spanish 🇪🇸

How could the big leagues plan for a return to football?

What the true impact of Covid-19 will be on clubs and leagues is the mil­lion dol­lar ques­tion’. Monchi the­o­ris­es that a con­ser­v­a­tive approach in the short term may be the most viable. All the big leagues are try­ing to find the safest plan, clear­ly, as safe­ty and health have to be the most impor­tant para­me­ters,” explains Monchi. 

Finding a way to restart the cham­pi­onships in order to min­i­mize the short term impact. But of course, it will have an impact, and we’ll have to start all over again, try­ing to under­stand this new mod­el, this world, in anoth­er way. Because things are going to change, they sure­ly will, espe­cial­ly in the short and medium-term.”

But what of mon­ey? However con­ser­v­a­tive and poten­tial­ly safe a restart to foot­ball strat­e­gy might be, foot­ball is dri­ven in a big way by finances and any plan must take this into account. Monchi’s insight is that we must work as a col­lec­tive, rather than as oppos­ing teams. 

The eco­nom­ic impact will be huge,” said Monchi. And how can we face it? I think that there needs to be a col­lec­tive strat­e­gy. At this moment, in my opin­ion, we all need to take our shirt off and wear a com­mu­nal shirt and go all in the same direc­tion. When I say all, I mean the Spanish clubs, the Italian clubs, the French clubs. I mean, we need to find col­lec­tive strate­gies on a glob­al lev­el. We have to face this cri­sis col­lec­tive­ly, if we do it indi­vid­u­al­ly, it will be hard to win this crisis.”

Monchi during his stint as sporting director at AS Roma. Image: @ASRomaEspanol Twitter.

The scout­ing strat­e­gy at Sevilla dur­ing Covid-19

With scouts unable to trav­el to games live, Sevilla are using online scout­ing plat­forms to keep on top of tar­gets, with foot­ball set to even­tu­al­ly return, and cru­cial­ly, the sum­mer trans­fer win­dow on the horizon. 

How are we work­ing with Covid-19? Well, we are prob­a­bly among the less affect­ed areas, as smart work­ing allows us to work at 100% almost all the time,” said Monchi. I just end­ed a meet­ing with club man­age­ment to analyse the last posi­tions that we still had to analyse — wingers and strik­ers. Basically, the work is the same as always. In the phase in which we are now, April and May, scouts are fin­ish­ing select­ing those play­ers that we’ve been watch­ing all year long, and with a plat­form like Wyscout as a trav­el­ling com­pan­ion, it’s not hard at all.”

Monchi with Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui. The two will still work closely on transfer matters during this time of social distancing. Image: @S_K_MOORE Twitter.

A roadmap of how foot­ball could restart in Spain

As Monchi explains to us, foot­ball isn’t just about 11v11, there are also play­ers, man­agers, phys­ios, kit men, masseurs, the stadium’s staff, secu­ri­ty, ref­er­ees. The first para­me­ter has to be health and Spain’s out­line for a grad­ual return to foot­ball is an inter­est­ing one.

In the first week of May, indi­vid­ual train­ing has restart­ed, basi­cal­ly what play­ers were already doing at their homes, but at the train­ing cen­tres, with mas­sive, strong and well-made safe­ty mea­sures and pro­to­cols,” explains Monchi. 

As far as I know of the Spanish league, I assume that if every­thing goes well for these two weeks, then group train­ing will resume — group, not team train­ing — that are groups of eight that work iso­lat­ed. This will last till the end of May and there will be a final phase of col­lec­tive train­ing, that’s the train­ing that we are used to, that I think will last until the 10th-12th of June. Then, if noth­ing hap­pened and, cross­ing fin­gers, noth­ing trag­ic, I think that the leagues will restart.”

To learn more about how Wyscout can opti­mize your scout­ing process­es in remote sit­u­a­tions — read more here.

You can also check out our expert guides on remote coach­ing and remote scout­ing.