CARLO ANCELOTTI sent a stark warning to English football: Get ready for serious change.
The Everton boss believes the sport faces huge economic challenges amid the coronavirus crisis.
Carlo Ancelotti says football matters little at the moment but when it does return it will be in a much more austere condition
Everton chief Carlo Ancelotti believes all of society will face cutbacks after the coronavirus pandemic, and that includes football
Predicting the end of huge transfer fees, he said: “Footballers and coaches will earn less and tickets will cost less because people will have less money.
“The economy will change at every level and we have to get ready.”
The world game is in shutdown as countries tackle Covid-19, which is claiming lives by the thousands.
It has left clubs at all levels staring financial meltdown in the face of spiralling costs with no real income.
Leagues and clubs are scrambling to find a way to finish seasons to ensure they claim the billions in TV and matchday revenue needed to stay afloat.
But Ancelotti, 60, reckons talk of wage deferrals and matches sandwiched into a condensed period over the summer will ultimately prove futile.
And he predicted football is set to go from boom to bust before our eyes.
The Italian said: “I hear about cutting salaries, suspension of payments — they seem to me outdated, untimely solutions. Soon the economy will change and, at all levels, TV rights will be worth less.
“Footballers and coaches will earn less and tickets will cost less because people will have less money.
“Let’s get ready for a general contraction.”
SunSport revealed yesterday how one idea being put forward is for the game’s best-paid stars to take a financial hit to help keep lower-league clubs afloat.
Premier League players would accept a pay cut of up to 20 per cent over the next three months to help finance an emergency hardship fund. If they agreed, that would see big-name stars forsake as much as £100million.
And that would then be used to help cover the overheads of smaller teams who are struggling to make ends meet while the game is in lockdown.
There is a real prospect of teams throughout the leagues going bust, mainly because if the season is wiped out they would lose millions from television deals.
With many insurance policies not paying out on Covid-19 claims, the black hole in football’s finances is looming large.
Ancelotti has managed giants such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Bayern Munich in a glittering career.
But he can only watch from afar as the disease cripples his home country.
The nation has 10,023 deaths — almost double the secondworst hit country, Spain.
He has listened as others within the game hatch plans to return to action as soon as possible, just to ensure the season is completed.
The desperation for club and league officials is obvious — if they play, even behind closed doors, they fulfil fixtures and the TV money comes in.
But in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Ancelotti rubbished the idea that football will be back by the start of May.
And he insisted the only thing anyone should be thinking about right now is ensuring as many people stay alive as possible.
He added: “Today the priority is health, limiting the infection. Everything else is secondary.
“When you start again, when you finish, the dates, the promises, the hopes — believe me, I don’t care, at the moment it is the least of my thoughts.
“The Premier League has forced clubs to give everyone three weeks of vacation, players, coaches and staff.
“The initial idea was to start again in May but there is no question that we will succeed.
“What matters now is to fight the virus effectively.
“Then, of course, if it will be possible to continue the season, well, amen.”
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Should football return in the coming months it would see players having to resume after a prolonged period out of action.
There has been talk of clubs having to put their squads through a mini pre-season training schedule, even though many players were sent away with their own personal fitness programmes.
But Ancelotti dismissed that idea, claiming players will be happy to turn out at a moment’s notice.
He added: “It makes me laugh people who insist on making speeches about preparation times.
There are even those who talk about three weeks of training. They are bulls**t.
“It is a joke, that of preparation is a false myth.
“I remember in 2006, because of Calciopoli (the Italian match-fixing scandal), AC Milan were suddenly forced to make the Champions League preliminaries.
“I had to phone the kids who were on vacation because four days later we would have to face Red Star.
“Cafu returned from Brazil 24 hours earlier and played 90 minutes.”