Sporting powers call for Euro 2021 postponement

Tom Hill
February 4th 2021, 4:42 pm
Last Updated 3 years ago
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The past few days in the sporting world have been nothing like we have seen before, with the coronavirus outbreak forcing governments across the globe to take drastic action to try and get a hold on the situation.

Almost all the major domestic football leagues have postponed fixtures until the start of April at the earliest, and there remain huge doubts whether the campaigns will restart or if they will just get cancelled.

Cycling, Darts, Athletics, Cricket, Tennis and Golf have all been forced to cancel or postpone events for the next few weeks at least, while Irish and Scottish Horse Racing has gone behind closed doors – something England are also set to implement this week.

Officials from Gallagher Rugby Union Premiership clubs are expected to pre-empt government advice and postpone the season until further notice, while Super League clubs are also expected to follow suit after Toronto suspended training and stood down all their UK-based players and staff.

Tuesday will see a huge decision made on football as UEFA host an emergency meeting to discuss whether the Champions League, the Europa League and Euro 2021 can be played after domestic leagues in most of Europe shut down.

FIGC president, Gravina, is set to lead calls for the major tournament to be postponed until 2021 in order for domestic action to be completed this summer.

When asked about the situation, he told Sportsmediaset: “We will propose that Uefa postpone the European Championship. We will try to get to the end of this championship (Serie A) because it is fairer and more correct after the many investments and sacrifices of our clubs.”

Gravina is not the only person who is urging UEFA to put the Euros back by a year.

Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp is also calling for the same action, telling Sport1: “This tournament has to be cancelled, it could be played next year.

“This would have the advantage that the Club World Cup could not be played. That tournament (the Club World Cup) is not advisable anyway.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina have also asked for their Euro 2021 play-off match against Northern Ireland, due to take place at the Bilino Polje Stadium, Zenica on March 26, to be delayed due to Covid-19.

It has been also reported that if the play-off matches can’t be played, then lots will be drawn from the teams involved to see which nations qualify for the main draw.

There would be huge objections to this potential idea being used and it would seem extremely unlikely that UEFA would sanction this, bearing in mind the criticism that would come their way in the aftermath.

Reports are also suggesting Euro 2021 could be moved to December and this option is expected to be explored when representatives from all 55 member nations will debate the best way to move forward on Tuesday.

This would force a mid-season break to be enforced in all the top divisions, something which is feasible, but this would have ramifications for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which is due to take place from January 9-February 6.

It is unlikely two major tournaments will be played so close to each other and the better option appears to be moving the Euro’s to the summer of 2021.

These are certainly unprecedented and strange times that we are living in, not just in the sporting world, and Tuesday’s UEFA meeting will help to give some clarity on the remainder of this football season, both domestic and internationally.

It would be slightly weird to have the European Championships postponed for a full year but with so many domestic campaigns affected, and the welfare of players, managers, fans etc needing to take precedent, it may be the only course of action to take.

Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina is one of several people that have called for Euro 2021 to be postponed in order to complete the domestic seasons.
Tom Hill

After several years working in journalism, Tom offers a strong insight into football at both domestic and international level.