This summer’s European Championship has been postponed until 2021, which could help the current Premier League season be eventually completed.
The month-long tournament had been due to get underway on June 12 but has now been put back a year following a meeting involving UEFA, its 55 member associations, the European Club Association, the European Leagues and FIFPro on Tuesday.
The news had been widely expected, with football on the continent having been brought to a halt following the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The announcement first came not from UEFA themselves but the Norwegian FA, who posted the following tweet on Tuesday lunchtime:
UEFA confirmed the news later, issuing the following statement:
CONMEBOL, the governing body of football in South America, swiftly followed suit by announcing that this summer’s Copa America, which was scheduled to run at the same time as Euro 2020, would also be put back until next year.
The postponement of the European Championship and the Copa America raises hopes that domestic club competitions can now be seen through to a delayed conclusion, with the summer now freed up to accommodate the backlog of fixtures.
Indeed, UEFA said in the above statement:
The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed.
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.
The spread of COVID-19 and the uncertainty over when the pandemic will peak means that doubts still exist over when any kind of sport will be able to recommence but the lack of international football in June and July does give the Premier League (and its counterparts on the continent) some leeway in order to complete the 2019/20 campaign.
The Premier League are set to hold their next emergency meeting on Thursday, to firm up their own short-term plan of action.
Fantasy Premier League will likely follow suit thereafter.
Currently, top-flight football in England is due to restart on April 4 – though that appears increasingly unlikely given the escalating COVID-19 crisis.
The Gameweek 31 deadline looks set to stay as is, with no fixtures taking place (as happened with Gameweek 30), although it remains to be seen how FPL deal with the Gameweeks to come after the decimated international break, especially if a resumption of play is not possible until the summer.
When and if the Champions League and Europa League will be able to restart is another question, with movement between a number of countries now restricted and the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, announcing today:
UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.
The FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] will always consider the safety and the security of British nationals.
So, with immediate effect, I’ve taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.
We’ve heard nothing official from UEFA yet as to how they plan to proceed with the Champions League and Europa League, although Spanish newspaper Marca reported that the finals of the two competitions have been put back by four weeks.
For the latest NHS advice on coronavirus, please check their official website HERE.
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