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Interviews

MARK DEVLIN: COVID-19 WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF FOOTBALL

8 May 2020

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Town’s Chief Executive expects a big change in football after the COVID-19 pandemic

- Huddersfield Town’s Chief Executive discussed the effects of COVID-19
- Mark Devlin explains why football has to change to remain sustainable
- Watch his full interview below on #HTTV

Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Mark Devlin believes the current COVID-19 pandemic will completely change the face of football.

With all fixtures postponed, no confirmed date for the return of football and the questions remaining over whether supporters will be able to attend game in the near future, there’s been a lot of questions over the sustainability of football.

Mark Devlin, who was confirmed as Town’s permanent Chief Executive earlier this week, believes this is the perfect time for football, as a whole, to look at itself and how it’s run.

He explained how football needs to change to ensure the sustainability of football clubs in the EFL.

“I’m not the first to say it, but football will miss a huge opportunity if it doesn’t take a good chance to look at itself, look at the way its cost-base operates and wages throughout the business; this is a huge wake-up call for us all.

“I think we will find that the size of squads, player salaries, salary caps – maybe not for individuals – but salary caps across a squad. I think there will be lots of changes to the way football operates.

“Clubs will come out of this very badly bruised, as is the rest of the UK economy. It could take anything up to three to five years to fully recover back to pre-COVID days.”

With the potential of games being played behind-closed-doors, even into next season, a number of clubs may struggle financially and have to find other means of revenue.

Devlin detailed the long-lasting impact that could have on football clubs.

“When fans are allowed back in, that doesn’t mean everything is sorted it, we’ll have deferred payments to make good, we’ll have lots of catching up to do in terms of paying people; it’ll take time to come out the other end.

“I think you’ll find some common business sense coming into the way football club are run, it just can’t continue the way it is, especially in the Championship where the losses racked up by clubs chasing the Premier League dream are just not sustainable.

“Owners aren’t just losing money at their football club, in most cases their main businesses which helps fund the football club are suffering badly in most cases. So, they are having to recover their own businesses and the football club.

“There’s going to be a really soft period for two or three seasons going forward as clubs find their feet again and get money going back in the system.”

But how can Mark see the game changing in England?

“Hopefully we will see the end of the days of wild overspending and speculation of clubs accumulating huge debts; that has to change.

“That will be down to the way we operate; ticket pricing, TV deals, TV Money that’s shared around the industry.

“I believe there should be no separation, when it comes to this point, between the EFL and the Premier League because we both need each other.

“The Premier League isn’t a thing without the EFL, and we all want the dream of playing and working in the highest level.

“I think there will be recalculations there on how that works. We are in for a lot of change. I think it’ll change the face of football for good and for good reasons as well.”

You can watch Mark Devlin’s full interview below on #HTTV!


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