Euro 2020 postponed until 2021 due to coronavirus

Euro 2020 postponed until 2021 due to coronavirus

17/03/2020

Euro 2020 has been postponed until 2021 after UEFA reached an agreement with key governing bodies on Tuesday, following the global coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-team European Championship, which was being held across Europe to mark UEFA's 60th anniversary, will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.

UEFA relayed the news after an emergency video conference with all 55 of its affiliated national federations and representatives from clubs and leagues on Tuesday in which it also confirmed all UEFA competitions and matches (including friendlies) for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice, including playoffs.

This means that European domestic leagues, postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, are now free to complete their schedule as they wish. UEFA also said a working group has been set up with the participation of leagues and club representatives to examine calendar solutions that would allow for the completion of the season and any other consequence of the decisions made on Tuesday.

"We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement confirming what had been leaked by the Norwegian and Swedish FAs earlier in the day.

"It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism."

Sixteen playoff matches were due to be held on March 26 and 31 to decide the full line-up of nations for the tournament. They will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.

The sporting calendar has been shredded, with a host of blue-riband events cancelled and competitions suspended, and the fate of the Tokyo Olympics this year now hangs in the balance.

All five of Europe's top domestic soccer leagues -- England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany -- are suspended, along with the Champions League, Europa League and World Cup qualifiers.

UEFA said in a statement later on Tuesday that they intend to complete the all domestic and European club competitions by June 30, 2020 at the latest.

Sources told ESPN that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid expressed their "satisfaction and relief" at the decision to postpone Euro 2020, and both welcome the understanding of UEFA toward the clubs. And Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales echoed UEFA's hope of completing the league seasons by late June.

Meanwhile, the English and French football associations were also quick to back the decision, as was European Club Association chairman and Juventus president Andrea Agnelli.

This year's 12-nation Copa America was also postponed until 2021 on Tuesday, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement that he has scheduled a conference call with the Bureau of the Council for Wednesday, at which he will suggest: to accept the postponements of the Copa America and Euro 2020 until June/July of 2021; to decide when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup; to discuss the postponement of the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2021 with the Chinese FA and the Chinese Government; as well as making a $10 million contribution to the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

With the Euros and Copa now postponed for a year, it could provide some flexibility for domestic competitions, all left in various states of limbo by the stoppage, to be concluded once the pandemic eases.

Leagues had urged UEFA to give priority to completing domestic competitions, as clubs throughout Europe feared they would lose significant ticket and associated match-day revenue by not completing the season while still having to pay player salaries.

"UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely, and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football," Ceferin said.

While the domestic leagues will welcome the news, next year's international football calendar already looks crammed.

The women's European Championship is due to be held in England in the summer, and FIFA's revamped Club World Cup in China, featuring eight European club sides, is pencilled in from June 17-July 4.

The host cities of Euro 2020, the first to be staged across the continent rather than hosted by a single or joint-host nations, were Glasgow, Dublin, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, Bucharest, Budapest and Baku, with the climax set for London's Wembley Stadium.

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