UEFA have officially announced that the 2020 European Championships have been postponed by one year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, Europe’s biggest international competition has been set for 2021.
European football’s governing body made the decision during an emergency video conference involving major stakeholders, as well as representatives from each of the 55 countries, on Tuesday. The tournament was expected to take between 12 June and 12 July next summer. Instead, now it will take place between 11 June to 11 July, 2021.
This was something UEFA HAD to do, no matter the costs involved. This will allow domestic leagues to be completed, as most of Europe’s leagues are on hold due to the pandemic. This might also have ramifications on the CONMEBOL calendar as well. By all accounts, the 2020 Copa America is expected to be postponed until 2021 as well.
UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, talked after the decision was officially announced.
“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,” he said. “It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism. 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 co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.”
This will carry a huge cost for all countries involved. However, what else could have UEFA done? It’s unrealistic to think the tournament could have happened given its 12-country setup. The amount of travelling involved would have been too risky given the current health issues across the entire continent. Football fans will undoubtedly suffer from this decision, but this was a step in the right direction.
There is no clarity regarding what might happen with the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. Experts believe a mini-tournament held in just one city could the issues. However, European football’s governing body have not announced a decision regarding this subject so far.
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