Graeme Souness has warned that the whole of football faces financial turmoil amid the coronavirus crisis.
Sportsmail revealed on Sunday the Premier League want clubs to commit to doing everything they can to resume in order to prevent financial collapse.
Most clubs have accepted that season-ticket money for the following campaign and sponsorship income will be diminished due to the strong possibility of social distancing measures being maintained, and the loss of the £762million outstanding on the television contract would put many in jeopardy.
Graeme Souness has warned that football faces financial turmoil amid the coronavirus crisis
West Ham chief Karren Brady is among those who want relegation ruled out if it is restarted
But Souness maintains that financial problems will not just hit the country’s smaller top-flight clubs, but also its most powerful.
‘I think its gonna be very difficult to get everyone to agree to it, everyone’s looking after their own house right now, teams near the bottom need every advantage they can get,’ Souness told Sky Sports The Football Show.
‘Brighton have five home games, they’ll see that as an advantage. [It will be] difficult to get any consensus to get it through. It comes down to money.
‘We talk about the Premier League being awash with money but if this thing really bites, some PL clubs will be in dire straits financially, it won’t just be the smaller ones. If you’re spending more than you’ve got coming in ultimately you’re gonna be in trouble.’
Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow is also against a restart due to safety concerns particularly
Souness believes richer clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City will also be heavily affected
The comments come with the Premier League expected to make a desperate plea for unity this week amid claims that the bottom six clubs are sabotaging plans to resume the season.
Sportsmail revealed that some of the Big Six are lobbying for guarantees that promotion and relegation will still be implemented, even if the season is curtailed.
The dramatic move following last Friday’s shareholders’ meeting represents an attempt by the biggest clubs to persuade those in the bottom three to vote for playing on, as it would be their only hope of avoiding relegation.
But Souness admits that it will be extremely difficult to get everyone to agree to playing again, with the bottom clubs aware of the minute margins between winning and losing.
Souness also maintained it will be very difficult to get the bottom clubs to agree to play on
‘When you’re down there fighting for survival you want to be playing teams who have nothing to play for, that might be the difference with winning and losing it can be small margins,’ Souness continued.
‘It’s hard to make that calculation for Paul Barber at Brighton or Eddie Howe at Bournemouth, to come to a majority will be very difficult but I’d hate to be a decision maker in this because when we get playing it’s going to be very difficult.
‘We have to manage it until there’s a vaccine, there will be times where we’re taking two strides forward and three back. Its a very difficult time for decision makers, I’m not sure you’ll get all these clubs to agree.’
Premier League clubs are also acting by urging worried stars to agree to return to action in talks this week after they voiced concerns about the resumption of the top-flight season amid the pandemic.
Jamie Redknapp maintains the issue of players’ concerns about returning remains a problem
Safety concerns have also been voiced by Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow, with The Villa Supporters’ Trust having written to the club expressing their opposition to the Premier League resuming behind closed doors.
But Jamie Redknapp, who was also speaking on ‘The Football Show’ said players’ concerns remain a serious issue, but is certain the Premier League will not follow Ligue 1 in cancelling the season and declaring the champions and teams relegated.
‘Safety has to come first, that’s a major problem, players are nervous their families are involved maybe some players parents have underlying problems, everyone has their own agenda,’ Redknapp said.
‘[In] my last season at Southampton, if they were relegated every contract would go down 40 per cent, lots of clubs would say ‘why do we want to start again?’
‘Wages and jobs get cut. I cannot see the Premier League following Ligue 1, it would cause too many different problems if they were to be relegations. The bottom three, they would go absolutely crazy.’
Paul Barber has publicly opposed the Premier League’s plan for using neutral venues
The other sticking point concerns the issue of neutral venues, with Brighton chief executive Barber publicly opposing the Premier League’s plan to complete the campaign using 10 neutral venues by saying that such a move would damage the integrity of the competition.
While the finer details on neutral venues, still need to be resolved, the Premier League are hoping to secure an agreement to return in principle.
And Redknapp believes that some players will relax more when playing behind closed doors, but that ultimately the individual effects of the crisis will direct the decisions players and managers make in the near future.
‘Some players will enjoy playing with no crowd, I’ve played with some players who give the ball away with a big crowd, a lot of players will not enjoy that.
But Redknapp believes that some players may enjoy playing again behind closed doors
‘Sometimes you play against a side who relax and have nothing to worry about so that can be dangerous.
‘Everyone is thinking about themselves right now, some players voting to come back, some won’t.
‘Some Premier League managers will say to their players what do you want to do? Do you feel comfortable, that will cause problems too.’
But Redknapp also believes all clubs including Liverpool will have individual concerns in mind