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Coronavirus: UEFA postpone Euro 2020 finals until 2021

The governing body has made the decision after coronavirus called a halt to football across the continent.

Coronavirus: UEFA postpone Euro 2020 finals until 2021 SNS Group

UEFA has postponed the European Championships for 12 months due to the spread of coronavirus and its impact on football fixtures.

The tournament was scheduled to begin in June and would be played across 12 host cities, including Glasgow. Instead, UEFA has confirmed that competition will begin on June 11, 2021.

The play-offs for the tournament, including Scotland’s tie against Israel and a possible final against Norway or Serbia, have been pushed back to June of this year.

UEFA have announced the moves in order to give domestic football across the continent a chance to complete their national leagues and cups.

A commitment has been made to complete all domestic and European competitions by June 30, at the latest, “should the situation improve and resuming playing be appropriate and prudent enough”.

To help leagues reschedule, there will be no “exclusive calendar slots”, meaning that domestic games can be played in midweek when European competition is on, while Europa League and Champions League games could be played on weekends.

A decision has also been reached that could see 2021/22 Champions League and Europa League qualifying “adapted” if the football season ends after June 30.

A statement from the governing body read: “UEFA today announced the postponement of its flagship national team competition, UEFA EURO 2020, due to be played in June and July this year. The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches. The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed.

“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. The UEFA EURO 2020 Play-off matches and international friendlies, scheduled for the end of March, will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.

“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 decisions, taken by UEFA’s Executive Committee, followed videoconference meetings held today with the Presidents and General Secretaries of the 55 national associations, as well as representatives of the European Club Association, European Leagues and FIFPro Europe, convened by UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, to find a coherent plan to break the logjam of fixtures building up due to the spread of the virus across the continent.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said: “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.

“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.

“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 is 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.”