Arsenal announced plans last month to bring fans back to the Emirates Stadium – albeit in a limited capacity – in early October.
The fixture against Sheffield United had been earmarked as the one which would see supporters see the Gunners play live for the first time since the 1-0 win over West Ham on March 7th.
However, those plans will have to be put on ice after a rise in Covid infections, with government minister Michael Gove telling the BBC, “We do want to, in due course, allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events but it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate.”
Obviously it’s bad news for fans, but for football clubs the financial implications could be massive, without revenue streams they had hoped to start trickling in again.
Whether there are implications for the transfer business we might do between now and the close of the window remains to be seen. Like every other club, Arsenal need cash to operate, to keep things running, pay wages and everything else, so it might be a case that outgoings are affected by this latest setback.
The Arsenal Supporters Trust have published updated analysis of the financial situation, with potential losses this year of £44m, and around £80m next year.
Arsenal have spent around £30m on Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille, as well as the £1.5m capture of Alex Runarsson from Dijon, while bringing in £20m for Emi Martinez. Further incomings were already somewhat dependent on who else we might move on, and in the light of this news it becomes even more so.
Let’s see what happens. In the meantime, please stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask where required: we can all do our bit to help prevent the spread of this virus which is on the rise again.