The president of the European leagues warns against 'opportunistic' changes in football

BERN: Disruption of the coronavirus should not be used as an excuse to end Europe football The Financial Fair Play governs or makes opportunistic changes in the international calendar, the head of the European leagues Umbrella organization said Friday.

As football begins to reawaken after the stoppage, which began in mid-March, European leagues President Lars-Christer Olsson , whose members include 27 top-tier leagues, told Reuters that he believed most clubs would survive.

The Bundesliga will restart on May 16, while leagues in Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Portugal and Serbia have also set dates for a restart.

Olsson said he was genuinely concerned about financial fair play ( FFP ), which prohibits clubs from spending more than the income they generate, and were introduced to prevent wealthy owners from injecting money into their clubs.

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Some clubs had asked to be abandoned during recent discussions, Olsson said.

The important thing is that the coronavirus does not mean that we eliminate the financial Fair Play and the club's licensing rules because that will undermine the achievements so far, he said in a telephone interview from Sweden.

He said that ending FFP would be the opportunity for the richest clubs to widen the gap. This would take us back to the time where the clubs had debts which continued to build ... and that would be detrimental.

Olsson said that, while FFP was introduced for European competition, some national leagues had subsequently adopted their own versions of it.

There should be more licenses, not fewer, he said.

Nor was he impressed FIFA President Gianni Infantino The suggestion that this might be the time to reform the calendar and the vice president Victor Montagliani The proposal that Europe could switch to a calendar year season.

It is opportunistic because it is trying to change things by using the crisis as the reason and moving things in the direction of its own ideas, rather than having a proper decision-making process, Olsson said.

They are also taking the opportunity to create room for new FIFA competitions like the Club World Cup so we have to be cautious.

Despite the long layoff, Olsson said he was optimistic that the clubs would avoid the worst.

"Generally speaking the governments have accepted their responsibilities... for the future life of football clubs," he said.

There is a good chance that almost all clubs will survive, especially if we start (play) now ... business partners have taken their responsibility to the clubs in a very good way so far.

Olsson said he was happy that football was starting again and that there had been an "exchange of best practices" between the leagues.

We have been working for the past month or so, trying to convince all leagues that they should work on establishing protocols for the conditions to restart the season, he said.

"The main condition is that starting football should not increase the general health risk. There are some risks involved but this is a cautious and sensible way of playing matches."

He added: "Psychologically, it's very important because football is important for a lot of people and it is a good sign for society in general that football can resume and be played in a secure way."