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Wycombe owner insists club will survive crisis

But American warns of "decisions that may have undesirable short-term ramifications and provoke some adverse reactions"

Last Updated: 23/03/20 7:56pm

Wycombe owner Rob Couhig completed his takeover last October

Wycombe owner Rob Couhig completed his takeover last October

Wycombe owner Rob Couhig insists the club will survive the coronavirus crisis but has warned he may have to make some "undesirable" decisions in the process.

The American, who only completed his takeover of the League One club earlier this season, says he is exploring loan options - including those offered by the government - with the aim of preserving the club's cash flows and assuring its future.

In an open letter to the Wanderers board, Couhig revealed the players will not train for the foreseeable future, doing personalised programmes from home, and the stadium at Adams Park is running with minimal staff

Gareth Ainsworth's side were eighth in League One prior to the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic

Gareth Ainsworth's side were eighth in League One prior to the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic

"The club will survive this crisis," he said. "It's our intention to come out the other side in a better position and financially able to survive long into the future.

"We also know that the club will have no revenue for the foreseeable future. However, we have certain expenses that must be met and we will meet them.

"While it is true that the EFL has made arrangements for some funding now, this money is basically money that was already due to the club in the future. This is also true with our tax obligations. While we can delay payment, it's only that; a delay, not relief. In essence, we are borrowing from our future to continue as best we can in the present.

"We are also looking into the potential of government-backed loans for organisations similar to ours. Again, it's important to recognise this money has to be paid back. We will need to fundamentally change our method of operation and commit to producing net revenues if we are to avail ourselves of these loans.

"I am not going to request a loan that will only allow us to return to where we were before the interruption. If we are to borrow money, it must produce the revenue necessary to pay back the loan plus a reasonable return for the risk involved in borrowing the money.

"The government has made arrangements to provide certain assistance for employees. We are examining these options to see what we can do to help the club maintain the income for our employees.

"The next weeks are going to be difficult ones. I am committed to working with our employees and staff to do those things that are most likely to preserve the club.

"While some of my decisions may have undesirable short-term ramifications and provoke some adverse reactions, please know that each decision is being done with the hope and expectation that it will make the club stronger now and sustainable into the future.

"I have great confidence that we will get through this together. Your Wanderers will be a source of great comfort and pride in the future. But for now, we must all do our part."


This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11688/11962576/wycombe-owner-rob-couhig-insists-club-will-survive-coronavirus-crisis

Coronavirus: Uefa postpones European club finals

The Champions League final had been scheduled for 30 May

Uefa could authorise one-legged knockout matches for some Champions League and Europa League ties after postponing the finals of all this season's major competitions.

With European football suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no possibility of the competitions reaching their scheduled conclusion at the end of May.

It is still hoped to play the respective finals on 27 June and 24 June, potentially at the end of mini tournaments to be played in Istanbul and Gdansk.

The Women's Champions League final - originally scheduled for 24 May - has also been postponed.

There is no guarantee of these matches taking place though and work is now being undertaken to try to work out a formula that would allow the competitions to reach a conclusion.

One obvious difficulty is that matches in the men's competitions are at different stages and countries may be allowed to restart professional football at different times.

In the Champions League, four last-16 ties have been concluded, while the second legs of the other four are still to take place. In the Europa League, six first-leg ties have been played but two remain outstanding.

While it is hard to see Uefa ruling out the second legs of ties that have already started, they may be willing to let the ones that have not - both involving Spanish sides playing Italian ones - be decided by a single game, with the venue to be decided by the toss of a coin.

Quarter-finals and semi-finals could also be played over a single game.

It has already been agreed that European club matches could be played on a weekend and it is also understood there is no longer any imperative for the Champions League to be the last club game of the season, raising the possibility of the qualifying rounds for the 2020-21 tournament beginning before the major leagues have concluded.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52012053

Rio Ferdinand urges Manchester United to stay out of Philippe Coutinho transfer chase

Manchester United have been linked with a transfer bid for Barcelona attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, but former defender Rio Ferdinand does not think he fits the bill.

The Old Trafford club are expected to continue their rebuild with a couple of big-name additions to the squad in the summer—or whenever a moved transfer window allows—and Coutinho has been regularly linked with a move back to the Premier League.

Having starred for Liverpool for several years before moving to Barcelona, it’s easy to see why he would have admirers on these shores, but Ferdinand has listed multiple reasons why United should steer clear.

“At Liverpool he was an amazing player, but since he left Liverpool he hasn’t really done it yet,” Ferdinand said on Instagram.

“He struggled at Barcelona, struggled to fit in there and then he hasn’t done amazingly well at Bayern.

“I would have said Man United before Bruno Fernandes turned up, but not now.

“Would he be a good addition, yes? Not Man United though, and he played for Liverpool so it is a difficult one. The rivalry is mad.”

While United might not be an ideal landing spot for Coutinho in Ferdinand’s eyes, he acknowledges that a player of his quality would still be a big draw for other clubs.

Plenty of other teams are attempting to close the gap at the top, after Manchester City and Liverpool have pulled far ahead of everyone else over the past couple of years.

“I think he is a great player, a huge talent, I think he needs saving. Coming into the Premier League to the right team would be a saviour for him, he needs that,” Ferdinand continued.

Coutinho celebrates for Bayern (Getty)

“Would he improve Spurs? Yes he would, 100 percent. People like [Harry] Kane, Dele [Alli], Son [Heung-Min] etc. all feed off someone like him.

“I think he would be a great addition to Spurs’ squad. Arsenal he would definitely improve them, but where does he play in their system?

“Barely any team can afford him where he would fit in. He wouldn’t fit into [Man] City, Liverpool, not any teams like that.”

Recent speculation has suggested that Bayern will not look to make the loan deal permanent for Coutinho, who would instead return to Spain.

But with managerial changes, board upheaval and underperformance on the pitch all prevalent there, too, it may be that he needs to find a new third club to represent since leaving Anfield in 2018.


This news item was provided by the The Independent - Premier League website - the original link is: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-united-transfer-news-philippe-coutinho-barcelona-bayern-rio-ferdinand-a9419891.html

PFA say majority of players accept there is 'no alternative' to playing behind closed doors when matches resume

The majority of players accept there is “no alternative” to holding matches behind closed doors when the football season resumes, according to Professional Footballers’ Association deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread postponements of sporting events across the world and football in the United Kingdom was put on hold earlier this month.

The Football Association has agreed that the current season can be “extended indefinitely” with the FA, Premier League and EFL expressing a commitment to finding ways of completing the season “as soon as it is safe and possible to do so”.

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk admits he would be “gutted” for the club’s fans if they were absent when the runaway leaders secured the Premier League title, but Barnes believes players are coming round to the idea of playing matches in empty stadiums.

“I think it’s more a case of there being no alternative,” Barnes told The Athletic.

“Players are realistic. In an ideal world we would be playing in front of crowds. But we’re not in an ideal world and certainly, the players I’ve spoken to accept that if that is what’s going to be, that’s what it will have to be.

“I’ve been speaking to players – including two or three very high-profile Premier League players more or less on a daily basis – and the conversations I had with them at the outset were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.

“I said to them, ‘Look, none of us, in an ideal world, want to play in front of empty stadiums’. Football is about fans. But the reality is that for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to.

“In order for us (the PFA) to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries...if that’s the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be.

“To be fair, most players very much took that on board when we spoke to them. The players get it. They understand the alternative. Quite frankly, if we’re going to get the season finished in a timely fashion so that we can even consider starting next season, we’ve got to be open to all options.

“If it means playing behind closed doors has to happen in order that contracts are protected, fixtures fulfilled and commercial deals honoured, then I think we’ve all got to come together and accept we’ve all got to make sacrifices to try and find a solution for the industry as a whole.”

Sacrifices could include players taking salary cuts to help their clubs, although Barnes admits that is more likely to happen in the Premier League than lower down the football pyramid.

“Under the right circumstances and with suitable reassurances, mechanisms like wage deferrals are something that might have to come on to the table; certainly, it’s up there for discussion,” Barnes added.

“Obviously, as you go down the leagues, deferrals bite a little bit deeper because the salaries aren’t as high. There’s got to be discussion and negotiation, and I’m sure there will be in the days and weeks to come.”

Barnes has urged players to contact the PFA if they need any support – they operate a 24-hour wellbeing hotline – and said that the organisation’s significant cash reserves can be used to give grants to players.

“If people come and demonstrate hardship, they have to be helped and there is no prioritising,” Barnes added. “Every case has to be considered on its merits. Our reserves will be drawn upon and rightly so.”

PA


This news item was provided by the The Independent - Premier League website - the original link is: https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/football-premier-league-news-fixtures-pfa-behind-closed-doors-coronavirus-a9419556.html

Coronavirus: No alternative to closed-doors football games, says PFA chief executive

Elite-level football in Britain was suspended on 13 March

Players accept that matches will have to be held behind closed doors when the football season resumes, says Professional Footballers' Association deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes.

Football in England is suspended until at least 30 April because of the coronavirus pandemic, although the Football Association, Premier League and EFL want the season to be finished.

"In an ideal world we'd be playing in front of crowds but I think it's more a case of there being no alternative," Barnes told The Athletic.

"Players are realistic. We're not in an ideal world and the players I've spoken to accept that's what it will have to be.

"I've been speaking to players on a daily basis and the conversations were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.

"Football is about fans. But the reality for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, is their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to.

"In order for us [the PFA] to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries, if that's the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be."

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk, whose side are 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League, said he would be "gutted" for the club's fans if they were absent when the Premier League title was secured.

But Barnes believes players are coming round to the idea of playing matches in empty stadiums.

"If we're going to get the season finished in a timely fashion so we can even consider starting next season, we've got to be open to all options," added Barnes.


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52006755