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UEFA postpones Champions and Europa League finals

Published by

March 24, 2020 10:03 pm

UEFA postpones Champions and Europa League finals

The European Football Union UEFA postpones the finals of the Champions League and Europa League indefinitely due to the corona pandemic.

Six days after the urgent postponement of EURO 2020 by one year, the coronavirus pandemic has once again forced UEFA to take action. The continental association announced on Monday evening that the finals of the European Cup competitions would be postponed. It is not known when these will take place.

“UEFA has formally taken the decision to suspend the matches in question, originally scheduled for May 2020, until further notice,” the association announced. The Champions League final was originally scheduled to take place in Istanbul on 30th May and the Europa League final in Gdansk, Poland, on 27th May. The Women’s Royal League Final on 24th May in Vienna has also been postponed.

“The working group, which was set up last week as a result of the conference call of European football stakeholders chaired by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, will analyse the available options,” UEFA announced about the scheduling. “In due course”, they will comment on this.

Champions League the last “cash cow

The decision to relocate was unavoidable, as the international competitions have been suspended for the time being anyway due to COVID-19. In the course of the postponement of the European Championship last Tuesday to 2021, it was also decided that the match year in the national leagues and the European Cup competitions should end by 30th June. This deadline has now been softened by some national leagues, however. The UEFA could also soon give in here.

After the elimination of the European Championship finals for 2020, the Champions League is the last “cash cow” of the European association that could still be making money this year. However, the Champions League and Europa League are only in the last sixteen. Nobody can seriously predict when the games can be resumed.

“We have to keep various scenarios in mind, we just shouldn’t spread them all out,” said DFB Vice President Rainer Koch, who is also a member of the UEFA Executive Committee. He said it was a matter of drawing up plans “in order not to be faced with a total economic disaster after Corona.”

UEFA is said to have presented to all 55 member associations. It is said to contain seven models for a continuation of the Champions League, but several scenarios for the resumption of the Europa League are also outlined.

Will a lot draw the home rights?

The first possible “restart” date would, therefore, be 14th April. All matches would be played in the same mode – including a return leg to the last 16 with Italian champions Juventus in Turin or a quarter-final with Atalanta from the crisis hotspot Bergamo. The matches would be played on ten weekends and nine times a week, also in parallel with national leagues such as the Bundesliga, should they play again.

Even a postponement of just two weeks would bring about serious changes. If the premier league were not to start again until 28th April, the calendar would have to be massively compressed. It would then be possible to play only one knockout game from the quarter-finals onwards instead of a return match. Which club has home rights would then be drawn by lot.

If the game cannot continue until May, as envisaged in the other five scenarios, the format of the top flight would also have to be changed. The reason for this is that the end of June should be an absolute must because of the many professional contracts that will then expire. This could be guaranteed by a final four tournament of the four semi-finalists.

“As far as the clubs are concerned, everything depends on whether the leagues can be played to the end of June. If that is possible, the effects will be limited,” Ceferin told the Welt am Sonntag about the financial consequences of the crisis.

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