UEFA postpones Euro 2020 until 2021 over Coronavirus Pandemic
UEFA has postponed Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021 to allow European leagues more time to complete their seasons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
UEFA confirmed that the tournament will now be played between June 11 and July 11, 2021.
The playoffs for Euro 2020, which will include the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, have also been postponed.
The semi-finals were originally set to take place on March 26 with the finals on March 31. Those fixtures have instead now been postponed until June.
UEFA said in a statement: “UEFA today announced the postponement of its flagship national team competition, UEFA Euro 2020, due to be played in June and July this year.
“The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches. The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed.
“All UEFA competitions and matches (including friendlies) for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice.
“The UEFA Euro 2020 Play-off matches and international friendlies, scheduled for the end of March, will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.
“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 and any other consequence of the decisions made today.”
The decision comes after UEFA held conference calls with its 55 member associations, the board of the European Club Association and the board of the European Leagues.
Domestic competitions across Europe were due to be finished before Euro 2020, which was to be held in 12 different cities, began on June 12.
However, leagues across the continent have been halted in response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has seen more than 169,000 people become infected around the world.
The World Health Organisation says Europe is now the epicentre of the pandemic, which originated in China.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted the decision to postpone Euro 2020 by 12 months would be costly for UEFA but said he is determined that funding for grassroots football in its 55 member nations would not be affected by it.
“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football,” Ceferin said.
“There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.
“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice.
“Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected. Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.”