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Data: TransferMarkt; Note: Big 5 leagues only; Table: Axios Visuals

Whatever happens over the next few months, one thing seems certain: Soccer's $7 billion global transfer market may collapse amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: This will have huge ramifications on the intertwined soccer world, inflicting serious financial harm on clubs that rely on transfer market returns for survival, while potentially helping the rich get richer ... at a bargain.

How it works: The summer "transfer window" (i.e. designated times on the calendar when transfers can take place) essentially removes trading as we know it and replaces it with cash-swap deals.

  • Instead of Club A trading assets to acquire a player from Club B, Club A pays Club B a sum of money equal to that player's value (in Club B's eyes). Once that fee is agreed upon, Club A can negotiate a contract with the player.

Sellers: Clubs like Germany's Borussia Dortmund invest heavily in the development of young talent — often through youth academies — in hopes that those players blossom and fetch huge sums on the open market, thereby generating a return on their investment.

  • Bad news: It will likely be difficult to find buyers this offseason, and clubs could be forced to accept lower fees for the players they do manage to sell, losing out on critical revenues (the sale of one major prospect can fund a youth academy for years).

Buyers: Other clubs like England's Manchester City typically spend big on the transfer market, whether that's adding a much-needed role player or shelling out nine-figures for the next global superstar.

  • Good news: Market conditions could present the opportunity to snag a bargain or two.

The big picture: While nobody is rooting for a slow transfer market, clubs behaving in a more frugal manner may not be such a bad thing, according to those who think player values have gotten out of hand and need to be reset.

  • Transfer fees regularly eclipse $100 million these days, and three years ago, PSG paid Barcelona a record $263 million for Neymar (who they will pay $265 million in wages, putting the eventual cost at $528 million).

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated Aug 9, 2020 - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.

Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."