Euro2020 to be held in summer 2021
The European Football Championship 2020, with Munich, Rome and London as some of the venues, will be postponed until summer 2021. The national leagues and the European Club Association ECA have agreed to a corresponding UEFA proposal.
The European football giants held a conference for several hours, and one crisis meeting followed the next before the inevitable was known: due to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Football Championship 2020 will not take place until summer 2021. The pan-European tournament, which involves a total of twelve hosts, was initially scheduled to be held this summer – but in the global crisis, the clubs and leagues pressed for a postponement in order to gain more time themselves. The Executive Committee of the European Football Union took the final decision on Tuesday. The new date: 11 June to 11 July 2021.
“We all have to protect the health and lives of people, and that naturally also applies to football,” said national coach Joachim Löw, according to a statement by the German Football Association. “Therefore, it is absolutely right, and without an alternative to postponing the EURO 2020.” DFB President Fritz Keller spoke of “a difficult time, in which unprecedented challenges must be overcome together.
At the same time, the European governing body suspended all UEFA matches in Europe “until further notice” – including the Champions League and Europa League, which are stuck in the round of sixteen. It is possible that the European Cup competitions will be decided in final Four tournaments. The DFB announced that the European club competitions “could also take place at the weekend”. In return, Bundesliga matches “from Tuesday to Thursday” would be possible.
“We are at the helm of a sport that a huge number of people live and breathe and which has been defeated by this invisible and fast-moving opponent,” said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin. To what extent UEFA will and can host next year’s historic European Championship finals under the same conditions remained open at first.
“Our task now is to classify the far-reaching consequences that these decisions will have on football as a whole and to work on solutions,” said DFB Director Oliver Bierhoff. UEFA has given assurances that the cost of tickets and travel packages already paid for will be refunded if buyers are unable to travel to the 2021 European Championship.
Relief for interrupted leagues
The leagues now have over a month longer the chance to finish the currently suspended season under more or less regular circumstances. The cut-off date could be 30 June, the date on which normally expiring contracts end. The German Soccer League announced on Monday that it would rely on ghost games for the remaining games.
The opening game of the European Championship was scheduled for 12 June in Rome. Italy is considered the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis in Europe. “There is no manual, no empirical data for the current situation,” Bierhoff said. The German national team had qualified for the European Championship as first in its group. The opponents were the DFB-team France, Portugal and the winner of a playoff game.
The national team players “would have loved to play the EURO in the summer, which they had worked hard for”, said Löw. “Every sportsman lives for these great games, for these great tournaments that thrill a Country, an entire continent or, in the case of world championships, the whole world.
The European Championship mode with host cities spread across the continent was chosen to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the European Championship, proposed by former UEFA President Michel Platini. In addition to Munich and Rome, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bilbao, St. Petersburg, Bucharest, Budapest, Baku, Glasgow, Dublin and London were chosen as hosts. Among other things, the British capital was awarded both semi-finals and the final.
Fifa accepts relocation and is also rethinking
In the summer of 2021, the European Championship would actually have collided with the premiere of the million-dollar FIFA World Club Championship. However, FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced on Tuesday that he would accept the UEFA decision. The Club World Cup would also be postponed, Infantino mentioned a later date in 2021 and even the years 2022 and 2023 as possible alternative dates. The decision would be taken “at a later date”, “when there is more clarity”. Ceferin had previously thanked “FIFA and its President”, who had announced that he would “do everything possible to make this new calendar work”.
UEFA will also have to postpone its own Final Four of the Nations League, which is due to take place in June 2021. New possible dates are being sought for the Women’s European Championship in England and the U21 European Championship as well.