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“Sobering” situation could mean clubs pause for thought, says Brighton’s Barber

Brighton’s chief executive believes the coronavirus crisis could cause clubs to “pause for thought” in the transfer market, even though he feels obliged to push ahead with plans for the summer window.

Clubs across Europe have been hit hard financially by the suspension of play due to the global pandemic, with many seeing their income streams disappear.

Albion CEO Paul Barber acknowledges the situation is “very, very sobering” for football and society.

Brighton, managed by Graham Potter, are two points above the Premier League relegation zone and without a win in 2020

Brighton, managed by Graham Potter, are two points above the Premier League relegation zone and without a win in 2020 (Nick Potts/PA)

However, he is unsure whether the Covid-19 chaos will halt big-money transfer deals and feels it would be wrong to stop planning for future recruitment.

“Yeah, it could be that that’s where this takes us. It could be. But it’s too early to say,” said Barber, when asked if the consequences of the pandemic could make large transfer fees feel socially unacceptable.

“It’s a big question at a difficult time to try and answer with any sort of great clarity.

“Certainly, what this situation does is bring perspective. And all of us now are suddenly faced with a situation where our income has disappeared, pretty much overnight.

“That is a very, very sobering and quite scary situation to be facing – not just for football but for lots of different industries.

“And that certainly will be a moment to give us all pause for thought, for sure.”

Brighton, managed by Graham Potter, were two points above the relegation zone and without a win in 2020 when Premier League action was suspended earlier this month.

Like Albion’s players, Barber is working from home during a period of social distancing.

Asked about Albion’s recruitment strategy, he said: “It’s business as usual. We are doing our best to work from home, all of us.

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“Obviously we can’t travel, scouts and recruitment staff can’t travel but in terms of the work, preparing for the next transfer window whenever that may be, what shape or form it takes, we are still pushing forward.

“It would be wrong of us not to because everyone, Graham and the players, are trying to do their job, I’m trying to do mine, the staff in the office are now trying to do that office work at home.

“There is no reason for the recruitment work to lessen.”