UEFA postpones Euro 2020 to 2021 due to Covid-19 Outbreak

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UEFA have confirmed their plans to postpone the Euro 2020 finals for 12 months and also hold the playoffs for the tournament, including the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in June. Euro 2020 was scheduled to begin on June 12 for one month, but the decision has been made to postpone the finals due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the sporting calendar.

However, the tournament, which involves 24 Nations and takes place across 12 host cities, will instead be played in the summer of 2021, starting on June 11 and ending on July 11. UEFA has decided that the Euros should be postponed until 2021. It will be played from 11 June to 11 July next year,” the Norwegian FA tweeted. This effectively means that for the first time ever, European nations will play a major tournament in an odd year. The proposal was agreed during a video conference with all 55 of its affiliated national football federations and representatives of clubs, leagues, and players. The decision will go before UEFA’s Executive Committee for final sign-off later on Tuesday. The freeze on games has put broadcasting deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars on hold and could lead to the 2019-2020 season being annulled in some competitions.

Furthermore, the UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin report
“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. It is at times like these that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity, and altruism when the health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, 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. There was a real spirit of cooperation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.

It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice. Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries are not affected. Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole. Football is an uplifting and powerful force in society. The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty stadia, with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition.

Still, I would like to thank the European Club Association, the European Leagues, and FIFPro Europe for their great work today and for their cooperation. I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart the 55 National Associations, their Presidents and General Secretaries, and my colleagues from the Executive Committee for their support and wise decisions. The fine detail will be worked out in the coming weeks but the basic principles have been agreed and that is a major step forward. We have all shown that we are responsible leaders. We have demonstrated solidarity and unity. Purpose over profit. We’ve achieved this today.

Nevertheless, I would like to thank Alejandro Domínguez and CONMEBOL, who have agreed to move CONMEBOL’s 2020 Copa America in order to follow the recommendations issued by the international public health organizations to enact extreme measures and as a result of EURO 2020 being postponed. This means that clubs and leagues in Europe will have as little disruption as possible in the availability of their players. These joint efforts and especially this coordinated and responsible decision, are deeply appreciated by the whole European football community and also like to thank FIFA and its President, Gianni Infantino, who has indicated it will do whatever is required to make this new calendar work. In the face of this crisis, football has shown its best side with openness, solidarity and tolerance.

While no decision has been made on the 2019/2020 Champions League and Europa League campaigns, which were suspended last week during the round-of-16 stage, 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 current season and any other consequence of the decisions made today. The president of the French football federation, Noel Le Graet, welcomed the postponement of Euro 2020.

This wise and pragmatic decision by UEFA makes it possible to fully register in the urgency and the priority of collective action to fight against the coronavirus while allowing to consider ending the national professional and amateur championships which could be prolonged until June and All options will be studied in order to be reactive when the resumption of activities is possible. The only concern of the FFF is to make the best decisions, by bringing together all the players in football, to best respect sports equity and limit the impact of this crisis. The world of football must be united, responsible and exemplary.

Abolade Abdullahi

Abolade Abdullahi

Abolade Abdullahi is a journalist for express info news. He writes on sports and politics.

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