As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) pandemic continues to spread, countries worldwide have begun to take measures to limit the highly infectious disease’s proliferation. In the light of recent events, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has announced that it will postpone its biggest national team competition — the UEFA EURO 2020.
The event was scheduled to take place in twelve cities across Europe from 12th June 2020 to 12th July 2020. However, UEFA has decided against proceeding with the planned schedule to protect the health and safety of all involved in the games, as well as to avoid putting unnecessary strain on public services in all host cities during these trying times.
This postponement is also necessary to allow for preliminary domestic competitions to be completed before the EURO 2020 kicks off. As of today, the play-off matches for the UEFA EURO 2020 which were scheduled for the end of March have been pushed back to June, subject to changes based on the international situation around COVID-19. At the same time, all UEFA competitions and matches for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice due to the international pandemic.
These decisions were made following videoconference meetings held by UEFA’s Executive Committee with the presidents and general secretaries of 55 national associations, as well as representatives from key persons of the European Club Association, European Leagues and FIFPro Europe as they work together to find a way to resolve the scheduling issues cropping up due to the spread of the virus across the European continent.
Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA President, announced the decision with reassurances saying:
“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. […] It is 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 […] 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.”
UEFA EURO 2020 is currently postponed to next year, from 11th June 2021 to 11th July 2021. UEFA has reassured their ticket buyers and hospitality clients that the face value of their tickets and packages will be refunded in full if they are unable to attend the rescheduled tournament in 2021. Details about the refund process will be released on UEFA’s official website on euro2020.com/tickets.
While it is disappointing for fans, punters and bookmakers alike to see the biggest football event of the year pushed back to 2021, it is reassuring to see the governing body of the event to take measures to combat the risks from the coronavirus. With tensions rising as the disease continues to spread, we need to do our part to help minimise disruption and infection.