UEFA are expected to confirm that the European Championship will be postponed until 2021 following a series of video conferences today that will provide the first concrete plan for a resumption of elite football. Photo: Andreea Alexandru/AP Photo
UEFA are expected to confirm that the European Championship will be postponed until 2021 following a series of video conferences today that will provide the first concrete plan for a resumption of elite football. Photo: Andreea Alexandru/AP Photo

Euros set to be delayed until 2021

By MATT HUGHES AND MIKE KEEGAN Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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UEFA are expected to confirm that the European Championship will be postponed until 2021 following a series of video conferences today that will provide the first concrete plan for a resumption of elite football.

The likely postponement of Euro 2020 will have a knock-on effect for other competitions planned for next summer, with the finals of the Nations League moved until later in 2021 and the men’s Under 21 and women’s European Championship put back to 2022.

UEFA are determined that the Champions League and Europa League will be played to completion this season, even if it means streamlining both competitions.

Proposals to switch all remaining ties from the quarter-finals onwards to a one-off match will be discussed in the first conference call of the day involving the clubs and

European leagues chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, as well as a plan to stage the semi-finals and final of both competitions in one city over the course of five days later this year. UEFA are also prepared for the Champions League final to be held before the end of Europe’s domestic league seasons, which will require more time to be completed.

The afternoon sessions will focus on international football, with a conference call involving all 55 European national associations, at which the FA will be represented by chief executive Mark Bullingham.

Sportsmail understands that Ceferin will go through various scenarios for the European Championship and is set to recommend that it be put back for 12 months until June 2021. UEFA’s executive committee are expected to meet later in the day to ratify any decision.

Potential issues may arise with some of the smaller federations, who are due a projected £14million from the tournament, a sum which is vital to their existence. An agreement may be reached which sees them given temporary funding until the tournament takes place. The cost of postponement will also be discussed.

UEFA will also make clear to the national associations that it is up to them to determine how they should allot qualification for next season’s European competitions if individual leagues cannot be completed.

Football League clubs fear their owners may walk away if the season is declared null and void. The EFL will meet this week to discuss their plans for the remainder of the campaign and much will hinge on UEFA’s decision today as delaying Euro 2020 would give domestic leagues breathing space to complete outstanding fixtures.

That will be the overwhelming desire of clubs in the Championship and Leagues One and Two, however possible, with the alternatives — taking the current standings as final or scrapping the season — in danger of pushing owners away.

In the Premier League, clubs have a number of lucrative revenue sources alongside their owners, including broadcasting deals, matchday income and significant commercial deals.

Lower down the pyramid, however, clubs are more reliant on the financial input of their owners to stay afloat. Concerns have been raised that if they are left with no return on this season’s investment because the campaign is wiped, some will be forced to step aside having been left out of pocket and unable to fund their clubs for another year.

Some clubs will also be requiring loans to make up for their loss of income following the cancellation of matches until next month.

How that shortfall is made up will also be a topic of discussion when the league’s clubs meet.

English football’s shutdown in the face of the coronavirus pandemic was complete last night when the National League suspended fixtures until at least April 3. The fifth-tier National League and its sixth-tier North and South divisions belatedly followed the lead of the Premier League and EFL having continued over the weekend.

It came as the Football Association advised that all grassroots football in England be postponed for the foreseeable future.

Daily Mail

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