The coronavirus pandemic that has shook the world in recent weeks has had a huge impact on the sports industry. Competitions across different countries and different sports have come to a standstill, and we’ve even seen the postponement of the likes of this summer’s Olympic Games in Japan and Euro 2020.

To find out more about how the sports industry is being affected, we spoke to a number of our graduates working around the world to see how much impact the crisis is having on their work on a day-to-day basis. Here, we speak to Saad Wadia, a BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing graduate, who is the co-founder and managing director of sports consultancy Avalon Sports Group…

In the current climate sport has almost come to a standstill for the first time since WW2. What has been the direct effect on your job and what you do?

My last day out was actually the Champions League game at Anfield between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. There was slight confusion in the air about whether the game should have gone ahead as the Manchester City versus Arsenal game the same night was called off. However, since that day football has been at a standstill and we have just been adapting to the new changes and taking things on a day-by-day basis. We manage football players in the Premier League and are working on numerous commercial opportunities in and around the game, from creating a documentary to arranging sports events in the Middle East.

Our first priority was to ensure everyone was safe and well prepared ahead of the government guidelines. Looking back at this I believe we were self-isolating and working from home since that Champions League night. Once it started to become clear about the kind of situation we were in, we then focused on adapting to these unprecedented times and being proactive in finding the best solution to any challenges regarding any employment contracts, as well as the various government schemes and changes to law that were being updated on a daily basis.

Running your own business comes with many challenges. How are you dealing with those right now in such unprecedented circumstances?

These are unprecedented times, everyone is going through it at the same time and we're all learning as it’s happening. My heart goes out to the superheroes of today at the hospitals who are doing an incredible job in fighting this. As a business, you have to look at the overall picture and understand that there's people who are in far worse situations than you and you have to put them first. This then helps you to be more flexible and look at the situation for what it is. Once you have a solid foundation like this, you can then be proactive in working on other projects for new opportunities. We have a wealth management arm for our players, and in the last few weeks this has been the busiest period as all the players are at home and are now interested in learning about new opportunities and securing their futures with the correct advice and investment opportunities for life after football. This has really given a lot of the players time to think and realise anything can happen. We have been warning players about a rainy day and something like this helps everyone to pause and reflect.

Do you think the business operation of sport will change in any way at all once this current crisis is overcome, or do you feel things will return to how they were?

I believe football will start again but behind closed doors, and the government will slowly start to unscrew the restrictions one step at a time. It could take up to six months for us to be anywhere near normal again. I'm sure there will be new rules put in public places around safety and these small changes will change the way we all live. You can already see changes in sports with different types of contracts being put in place; the markets will have changed and they will have to reflect that.

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Saad, centre, with Leicester City's Jamie Vardy and Premier League Productions presenter Manish Bhasin.

Do you think football and sport has an important role to play in the current climate to emphasise the message to the public about safety?

Yes, 100%. Sports has the power to reach millions, and as we have seen from social media the whole football world is coming together to echo the same message of washing hands and staying indoors. As humans we are very tribal, and it is important that in society wherever there is a community built up, the community should do everything it can to protect its people.

What was the immediate reaction of yourself, colleagues and the organisation when the news broke that firstly, sport was effectively coming to a stop, and secondly, that working from home was essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals?

First of all, it was just taking in what had happened and making sure everyone was safe. We adapted very quickly in terms of setting out a new structure and way of doing business. In the first week we set up meetings all online and started creating more content. We were also regularly in touch with our clients, through WhatsApp conversations, and keeping everyone in good spirits with video calls.

If you are working from home, how are you organising your day and what would you recommend to others in a similar situation who are maybe struggling not being in their usual work environment?

One of the first things I’d say is that it is very normal to feel lost and not know what is happening, there shouldn't be pressure that you have to get fit and have a new strategy in place, for example. Take your time, stay calm and collect as much information as you can before creating a schedule. This gives you a structure and routine to work from home at your own pace.

What impact do you think football and sport will have on people when things hopefully return to normal in the coming months, and do you think it can be a positive one?

When sport finally returns it will have a positive impact. Sport allows everyone to come together and this togetherness will be celebrated across the world. We all need and want something to cheer on and celebrate, so when sport returns it will be a huge lift.