Warnings over football’s future due to pandemic

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters warned of a potential £1billion loss due to the coronavirus crisis that Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says brings the "danger of losing clubs and leagues".

As sporting bodies across the world scramble to get a grip on the evolving situation, talks continue between top-flight clubs and players about a 30 per cent pay cut made up of conditional reductions and deferral of salary.

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor says its members will "play their part" but no agreement has been struck at a time when the issue of pay has become a hot topic given some top-flight clubs have furloughed employees.

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BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - APRIL 2: Mineirao Stadium is lit up in green, the color of hope, as a token of appreciation to all the professionals involved in the effort to minimize the spread of the coronoavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on April 2, 2020 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In addition to the lighting, the phrase "We are together and isolated" is projected on the stadium. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 07: Manchester United Foundation and club staff package up 30,000 items of food and drink to deliver to Stretford Food Bank, Salford Royal and a number of other local charitable organisations in Manchester dealing with impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on April 07, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. This follows the £50,000 donation to the Trussell Trust to support 19 food banks across Greater Manchester as part of a joint fan-led initiative with Manchester City. Manchester United donates perishable food after every home game and looks forward to restarting this service when football resumes. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
One of the venues of the EURO2020 (postponed until 2021), the Puskas Arena is illuminated by white light in honor of the efforts made by the health care staff against the new coronavirus COVID-19 on April 6, 2020, on the 25th day of the partial curfew of the corona virus in Hungary. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP) (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman stands at the temporary coronavirus treament center at the Signal Iduna Park soccer stadium in Dortmund, western Germany, on April 6, 2020, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. - A part of the Borussia Dortmund football stadium was turned into a treatment center for patients with the novel coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 06: A general view of an incomplete sitework at Santiago Bernabeu, where Real Madrid plays its football matches, due to coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic after the construction works has been put on hold in Madrid, Spain on April 06, 2020. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
dpatop - 06 April 2020, Bavaria, Munich: Robert Lewandowski from FC Bayern Munich drives his car into the underground car park at the FC Bayern training ground on Säbener Straße. The professionals of FC Bayern Munich will start training in small groups on this day. Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa (Photo by Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images)
06 April 2020, Bavaria, Munich: Robert Lewandowski (l-r), Alphonso Davies, Kingsley Coman and Joshua Zirkzee from FC Bayern Munich train on the one pitch on the FC Bayern training ground on Säbener Straße. The professionals of FC Bayern Munich will start training in small groups on this day. Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa (Photo by Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images)
DORTMUND, April 3, 2020: Photo taken on April 3, 2020 shows a medical staff wearing protective suits, standing in the COVID-19 testing center at Borussia Dortmund's stadium in Dortmund, Germany. Borussia Dortmund's stadium housed a COVID-19 testing center From April 4. Rooms in the Westfalenstadion's north stand have been prepared to take in people suspected of suffering from COVID-19. It is hoped the center will relieve pressure on the medical facilities in the city of Dortmund. (Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund to Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
ZEIST, NETHERLANDS, April 3: All is quiet at the Dutch football association KNVB headquarters amid the coronavirus outbreak in Zeist, Netherlands, on April 3, 2020. In the coming weeks it will be decided whether the Dutch professional football leagues will continue after June 1 or not. (Photo by BSR Agency/Getty Images)"r
MINSK, BELARUS - APRIL 3, 2020: Sanitary workers screen the temperatures of football fans before a 2020 Belarusian Premier League Round 3 football match between Dinamo Minsk and Torpedo-Belaz Zhodino at Dinamo Stadium. The Football Federation of Belarus has decided not to postpone the national football championship in connection with the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, with the 30th season of the Belarusian Premier League starting as scheduled on 19 March 2020. Dinamo Minsk won the match 2-0. Natalia Fedosenko/TASS (Photo by Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images)
MINSK, BELARUS - APRIL 3, 2020: Football fans on an empty stand during a 2020 Belarusian Premier League Round 3 football match between Dinamo Minsk and Torpedo-Belaz Zhodino at Dinamo Stadium. The Football Federation of Belarus has decided not to postpone the national football championship in connection with the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, with the 30th season of the Belarusian Premier League starting as scheduled on 19 March 2020. Dinamo Minsk won the match 2-0. Natalia Fedosenko/TASS (Photo by Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03: The official Nike Premier League match ball with a protective mask. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. on April 3, 2020 in Manchester, England (Photo by Visionhaus)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: A general view of The London Stadium, home to West Ham United as it lights up to thanks the NHS on April 02, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Members of the public are being encouraged to applaud NHS staff and other key workers from their homes for a second week, after the success of last week's "Clap for Our Carers" campaign. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: A general view of Brentford Community Stadium, the future home of Brentford Football Club, on April 2, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: A general view of the barricaded entrance to Stamford Bridge stadium, home of Chelsea Football Club, on April 2, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 40,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
WUHAN, CHINA - APRIL 01: (CHINA OUT) Men wear a mask while playing football in field on April 01, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei, China. The government stipulates that residents with green health code can go out. The central Chinese city where the coronavirus (COVID-19) first emerged last year, will lift the lockdown on April 8, local media reported. (Photo by Getty Images)
QUERETARO, MEXICO - MARCH 29 : General view of empty Corregidora Stadium during the suspension period as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus at Corregidora Stadium on March 29, 2020 in Queretaro, Mexico. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Cesar Gomez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Children wear face masks as they play football during a government imposed lockdown amid corona virus epidemic at kearaniganj in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020. (Photo by Syed Mahamudur Rahman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, called for a windfall tax on Premier League clubs if the Government's scheme is utilised without a pay cut or deferral for players, leading to a strong response from chief executive Masters.

"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," he wrote.

Masters' letter emerged after FA chairman Clarke said everyone must "step up and share the pain" inflicted on football, having announced on Monday that the governing body's top earners were taking a 30 per cent among other cost-saving measures.

Clarke told the FA Council on Tuesday: "Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it.

"The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer.

"We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.

"In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive."

Professional football in England is suspended indefinitely and a return date being kept under constant review, meaning the season is set to go well beyond the intended finish date.

FIFA has announced measures designed to extend players' contracts and establish a transfer window based around any new calendar.

Tottenham's attempts to stay fit for the season's return has led the club to remind their players about social distancing guidelines.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was seen with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in a public park, while Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were recorded running side by side. Serge Aurier also posted a video of himself running alongside someone else.

Elsewhere in sport, 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.

In the sport itself, the Canadian Grand Prix has been called off.

Montreal was due to host the first race of the disrupted 2020 schedule, but Covid-19 has seen the event, scheduled for June 12-14, become the ninth race to be postponed or cancelled.

Two more MotoGP events have been postponed, with May's Italian Grand Prix and the following month's Catalan Grand Prix from June 5-7 called off.

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