UEFA set for crucial Euro 2021 decision this week
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With the continuing Coronavirus fears sweeping across the continent, it’s expected that the European Championships will be delayed, potentially until the summer of 2021.
A video conference for delegates from 55 national associations, as well as club and player representatives, has been set up for Tuesday March 17.
As a number of countries battle to prevent the further spread of the pandemic, domestic football leagues have been placed on shutdown across the majority of Europe.
In order to help those leagues complete the 2019-2021 season, several associations have called on UEFA to push back the tournament in order to help with their fixture backlog.
With the 51 Euro 2021 matches due to be spread around the continent, it makes it even more difficult to find a solution other than to postpone for 12 months.
It would also enable UEFA’s cup competitions – the Champions League and Europa League – to be completed before the start of the new domestic season.
One other suggestion is that the tournament could be moved until December this year, although that is unlikely to be a popular with the clubs.
World football governing body FIFA have already stated that all internationals in March and April should not be played – which is likely to see the cancellation of the played Euro 2021 play-offs.
Any delay to the tournament will come as a financial blow to each countries associations, but UEFA have made it clear that the public’s health must come first.
July 12 was due to be the date of the Euro 2021 final, set for Wembley Stadium in London, but it now could be used as the date for the Champions League final instead.
The latest suggestion is to play a mini-tournament to help conclude this season’s Champions League and Europa League. The semi-finals and the finals being played over a week at the venues for the finals – Istanbul and Gdansk.
Any decision will also have a major impact on UEFA staff, with around 400 due to be working on the Euro 2021 tournament. It’s not known what will happen with those staff members if there is a 12-month delay.
If it does take place in the summer of 2021, there is the concern that it will clash with two other international tournaments.
The Women’s European Championship is due to take place in England between July 11 and August 1, 2021, whilst the men’s Under 21 European Championship will be in Hungary and Slovenia – from June 9 to 26.UEFA officials are expected to make a Euro 2021 announcement on Tuesday, as to whether the tournament can go ahead this summer.