Euro 2020 postponement to be discussed by Uefa and stakeholders

The UEFA logo is seen on the Champions League trophy (by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for UEFA)

Uefa has called an emergency meeting to agree a response to the coronavirus outbreak with the postponement of Euro 2020 one option to be discussed.

The governing body has invited representatives from its 55 member associations, the European Club Association, European Leagues and a representative from FIFPro to discuss the issue in a videoconference meeting on Tuesday March 17.

One option is to postpone the Uefa Euros until 2021 and provisionally suspend the Champions League and Europa League, according to a report in L’Equipe. The newspaper has reported that it expects Uefa to next week announce such measures.

Such an approach would unblock the dates allocated to the Euros (June 12 to July 12) and buy the governing body time to complete this season’s editions of its two club competitions. Uefa would also be likely to need to reschedule the play-offs matches that will decide the remaining four team spots at the Euros.

A postponed Euros could clash with the Fifa Club World Cup which is also scheduled for next summer. Uefa is likely to have to negotiate moving the event with Fifa, which organises the international match calendar.

The Uefa’s Women’s European Championship will also be taking place next summer (from July 11 to August 1).

The Nyon-based continental federation said today (Thursday): “In the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of COVID-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organisation, Uefa has today invited representatives of its 55 member associations, together with the boards of the European Club Association and the European Leagues and a representative of FIFPro, to attend meetings by video conference on Tuesday 17 March to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak.

“Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including Uefa Euro 2020.”

Tensions between the two organisations have already been heightened by Fifa’s decision to add the Club World Cup to an already crowded fixture schedule next year.

The ECA, Uefa and European Leagues first asserted their joint opposition to Fifa’s proposals to introduce the Club World Cup at a meeting of Uefa’s Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) in February 2019. At the time, they argued that any potential new competitions could only be made as part of an agreed framework for the international match calendar post-2024.

The leading European clubs would like Fifa to discuss the harmonisation of the calendar so that all confederation tournaments take place at the same time, two years after the Fifa World Cup, allowing a rest period every other summer for the leading players.

If the coronavirus causes confederation tournaments like the Euros to be postponed, the existing calendar will be thrown out of kilter, potentially creating additional scheduling problems further down the line.

Fifa recently established a working group with representatives from clubs, national federations, leagues and global player union FIFPro to decide on the international match calendar from 2024 onwards.

Meanwhile, the second leg of Manchester City’s last-16 Champions League clash against Real Madrid was postponed today. The match was set to take place on Tuesday, March 17 but the Real Madrid squad has entered into quarantine because of coronavirus.

Juventus’ second leg against Lyon next week has also been postponed. The squad is to spend two weeks in quarantine after Juventus player Daniele Rugani tested positive for the virus.