A mandatory rout imposed by the health alert stripped the stadiums, suddenly empty, without murmur and noise, breathless and without spirit, and left football with a changed step, subjected to a cold sensation of loneliness broken only by the echoes of his silence.
The world stopped. The sport too. And the football. The new start-up, careful about the risks, but hasty by lost time and to recover, allowed a return to the stage, but without witnesses. To a show without an audience.
A new dimension full of uncertainty and without a clear ending invaded the clubs, the managers, the coaches, the players. Also to the fans, forced to disguise themselves as a confined follower, doomed to enjoy successes alone and to alleviate the effect of defeat in isolation.
Everything has changed. Still immersed in the effects of the maelstrom of infection, without a clear picture and pending the arrival of the promised real normality, football is preparing for the new times. To those who are already resigned.
The incidence has been brutal. While the ball rolls and also in offices where calculations vary every day, negative balances grow and resources are scarce.
A chain crisis. From the grass to the offices where the consequences of emptiness are measured, of games without an audience.
The liturgy on green is no longer the same. Stage fright has disappeared and the influence of the local factor is minimal. There is no pressure. Neither by the demand of the local fan, nor by the intimidation exerted on the stranger.
Neither the canvases, nor the mannequins, nor the papier-mâché, nor any other resource product of the imagination to minimize the impact of the void have had any effect on the player. Neither did the excess decibels of the public address system nor the effort of the substitutes accommodated in the stands who loudly stimulate the teammates on the field of play. Any.
The closed door has taken a turn in the competition. In fact, in the past season, before the pandemic invaded, local teams achieved nearly sixty percent of all points that were put into play. However, after the stoppage and confinement, the hosts’ spoils did not reach fifty percent.
Real Madrid was the exception. Zinedine Zidane’s team, who left the Santiago Bernabeu to play at Alfredo Di Stefano’s home team, won ten of the eleven games that were left to conclude the League and were therefore hardly influenced by the game without an audience. He added all three points in all the games he played in his field. He tied the last, in Leganés.
The white box, which was champion, obtained one hundred percent of the points at stake at home. Before the break, it was not eighty. He was the great beneficiary. Also Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Villarreal. But Barcelona, leader until the break, was one of the most affected. Intractable at the Camp Nou before the closure, when he had achieved 95 percent of the points, it declined to 66 after isolation.
But the shock wave of the coronavirus goes beyond the competition, the field of play. The absence of fans has had a devastating effect on the entire world of football. Beyond the ball, the consequences are also painful.
This sport has not been left out of everything that the Covid has taken away. It is an engine, a social pillar that has left the masses on the sidelines.
The entities try to guess the days that remain for the return of people to the show. Although it is gradual and progressively. Even if they are a few.
Clubs have been left without a critical source of income. Especially medium and small societies have been left helpless, with becoming blackened and survival in the air.
Without people in the stands there has been no box office. Neither fertilizers. They have closed the official stores of the stadiums and also the food and drink offices of the enclosure. Large entities have closed their thematic museums, tours, and guided visits.
The balance has plummeted. The sources of income, for those who have them, are limited to advertising, the sale of T-shirts or television, which will also want to adjust the previous agreements according to the normality that is coming and that will have nothing to do with the previous.
The sports management of the clubs has shattered their plans for the future. The forecasts of substantial operations or flashy signings have gone to waste. The exponential jump taken by the market in recent years has abruptly vanished. The strategy has changed.
The crisis, economic hardship and survival have already put aside in most cases the signings at dizzying prices, each more expensive. Nothing of that. The entities now contemplate hiring at zero cost, transfers of footballers and even exchange of players.
Impossible large outlays. Only companies such as Paris Saint Germain, Manchester City, Chelsea and some others, protected by great fortunes, by sheikhs or magnates, less affected by the pandemic, could raise higher stakes.
And not only that, those who are will have to adjust their salary. In fact, a large part of the entities has been able to reach agreements with their footballers to condition wages downward. To accommodate them to the new times. Reductions are the order of the day.
While the lockers keep the blinds down, the clubs try to pamper the member. The collection of fertilizers has been stopped. There is no match, there is no payment. The income for the soccer year has been lost and the bills deferred.
The impact has damaged entities and those around them. The emptiness and the lack of public has invaded the periphery of the stadiums. There are no people in the stands. But neither in the bars, in the stalls, in the transport or in the hotels. It is the sequel to the damage that has left small businesses on the ground. There is no movement in the premises, with their existence already in question, neither transit nor life in the accommodations that are not reached by outsiders.
The pandemic has conditioned everything. It has stopped the world, has silenced football and stripped its enclosures. Nothing will be the same. EFE. (JL).