Football scouting amid coronavirus: home office instead of stadium

By Lars Reinefeld, dpa

They travel throughout the year and sometimes even watch several games on one day. But at the moment football scouts are at home amid the coronavirus. Which however doesn’t mean less work for them.

Normally Werder Bremen’s chief scout Clemens Fritz would be somewhere in Europe at the moment, Sweden or France or Austria, to watch a player who could potentially be a candidate for the Bundesliga team.

Spring is the busiest time for Bundesliga scouts because planning for the following season is well underway.

But the coronavirus pandemic has led to an abrupt end of all these activities, at least the travelling part, for football scouts who join the many other people in working from home.

“I can’t imagine any scout being out and about at the moment,” the former Bremen captain Fritz has told reporters in a conference call.

There is no play in Europe apart from Belarus, and Fritz says this is not a target market for German clubs and that “we certainly won’t send a scout to Belarus.”

Instead, scouts are at home, watching potential players for their clubs on TV or computer screens.

The new season has to be prepared even though no one knows when it start, when or whether the current one can be completed, and how much money a club will have available.

“Our scouts can certainly not complain about too little work,” Mainz sports director Rouven Schroeder has told the local Allgemeine Zeitung.

“Since all live sightings are currently cancelled, we use the time to take an even closer look at the players we have had and have in focus.”

Hertha Berlin have meanwhile said that “at the moment there is still so much uncertainty due to the corona crisis that squad planning for the coming season is not really happening in a serious way.”

Fritz, whose department has 12 members of which seven are exclusively responsible for the Bundesliga team, says that they are also looking leagues they normally don’t follow closely.

“Of course we have preferred markets but now we are also looking at leagues which are not so much in our focus. Everyone in the department has clear work orders, including those who are not on site in Bremen,” Fritz says.

Fritz also says that in these times of uncertainty player agents are also showing restraint and make less efforts to sell their players to clubs.

“They are a little more restrained,” Fritz confirms, because “I can’t imagine anyone making transfers at the moment.”

This gives scouts the time to do their job even more thorough – every much needed because club bosses will rely on their expertise more than ever.

“We definitely won’t be able to get another live impression,” Fritz says.

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