CORONAVIRUS | EURO 2020

"The feeling is that postponing Euro 2020 is inevitable" - UEFA

UEFA are obliged to delay Euro 2020 in the wake of the latest report from the World Health Organization. The most likely outcome is to stage it in 2021.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it cannot give UEFA any guarantees that coronavirus pandemic will be completely under control by 12 June, the date when Euro 2020 is due to get underway in Rome. That verdict will be decisive in the decision to postpone the tournament, which will be taken on Tuesday after a meeting involving representatives from all 55 of the European federations. UEFA haven’t received good news from the 12 host cities, whose respective countries find themselves affected by the pandemic. “The general feeling is that postponing Euro 2020 is inevitable ", UEFA sources told AS.

The most likely outcome is that Euro 2020 will be put back a year and take place in the summer of 2021. The same will happen with the Copa América, which is due to take place this summer in Colombia and Argentina. Those changes to the international calendar will have a knock-on effect on the next edition of the Club World Cup, which could also be moved back a year until the summer of 2022 – seeing as the Qatar World Cup will be played in winter.

Another option, although much less likely, would be to stage the tournament in one country – a solution which isn’t recommended. "There are countries which have not been affected by the pandemic and which could, in theory, hold the Euros. But apart from all of the infrastructure problems that would entail there is still the risk that the virus could spread. It’s unlikely to happen," UEFA sources added.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has yet to accept the reality of the situation concerning the coronavirus pandemic. At last week’s congress in Amsterdam, he refused to contemplate the idea that Euro 2020 might be postponed. But developments during the last few days together with the measures taken by the elected governments in almost all of Europe’s countries and particularly the decision by the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a pandemic has changed his opinion. "UEFA are in constant contact with WHO and all of the European federations, who have forwarded the opinions of their respective governments. All of those factors suggest that it will be impossible to hold the tournament as it was originally planned".

That the World Health Organization cannot guarantee that the coronavirus crisis will be over by June has made Ceferin’s mind up for him. And that this edition was due to take place in 12 different European cities which involves millions of fans travelling across the continent – that goes against the measures currently being enforced with the idea of preventing the virus from spreading.