UEFA has decided to postpone the 2020 European Football Championship amid the global coronavirus pandemic, as sporting bodies continue to grapple with the developing crisis.
The news was originally announced by the Norwegian Football Association, who confirmed that the tournament – originally scheduled to take place from June 12 to July 12, with matches played across 12 host cities throughout Europe – has been pushed back to 2021, with the competition now set to run from June 11 to July 11 next year.
The Norwegian FA tweeted (via translation): “UEFA has decided that the Euros should be postponed until 2021. It will be played from 11 June to 11 July next year.”
UEFA’s decision came after an emergency video conference call involving representatives of European leagues, clubs and players, who discussed and debated the best route forward for the good of the game across the continent.
Eventually, it was decided that it was in the best interests of the game to impose a delay to the summer tournament to help domestic leagues across Europe finish their seasons and avoid financial ramifications that could potentially run into multiple billions of dollars across the region.
The news will come as a relief to a host of European leagues, with national football associations calling for Europe’s football governing body to make the decision in the interests of the game and the integrity of their respective league competitions.
One of the leading bodies calling for a postponement was the Italian Football Federation, whose president, Gabriele Gravina, said earlier this week: “We will propose to UEFA the delay of the European Championship.
“We will try to get to the end of this championship because it is fairer and more correct after the many investments and sacrifices of our clubs.”
The Romanian FA was also expected to make a strong call for the tournament to be postponed, with the organization stating: “Protecting the football family and active participation in the measures recommended by the Romanian government and international authorities for the protection of public health is one of the FRF’s main responsibilities at this moment.”
Football across the world has come to a virtual standstill due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, as the football season has ground to a halt amid social distancing and self-isolation advice, as well as bans on mass gatherings, from governments around the world.
It placed the future of the UEFA European Championships this summer in doubt and prompted the major stakeholders in European football to convene their emergency video call to thrash out a solution to reduce the impact on domestic leagues and their clubs.