Euro 2020 delayed for year due to virus

Euro 2020

The Euro 2020 championships due to take place this summer have been postponed by one year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Uefa.

European football’s governing body made the decision following an emergency video conference involving major stakeholders today, with the tournament now moved from 12 June-12 July this year to 11 June-11 July next year.

The postponement will also provide a chance for European leagues that have been suspended because of the virus to be completed.

Uefa said it wanted to avoid putting “unnecessary pressure on national public services” of the 12 host countries, as well as helping to allow domestic competitions to be concluded.

“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,” said Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin. “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.”

The Euro 2020 play-offs, scheduled to take place later this month, have now been provisionally put back until June. The two-leg ties include clashes between Scotland and Israel, Northern Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia.

Uefa says a working group will examine calendar solutions to allow for the completion of the current season and any other consequences of today’s decisions.

The Uefa’s Nations League and the European Under-21 Championships were scheduled to take place next summer, along with the 2021 Uefa Women’s European Championship.

Uefa made no official clarification on what the Euro 2020 postponement means for the Women’s Euro 2021 tournament being staged in England from 7 July-1 August. The current dates for both tournaments would mean an overlap of four days at the end of the men’s tournament and start of the women’s.

However, Wales Women’s April Euro 2021 qualifiers are now officially on hold after Uefa suspended matches until further notice. They had been due to host the Faroe Islands on 10 April and Norway on 14 April, before two more matches in June and September.

Uefa says: “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.”