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Euro 2020 postponed: Reshuffle is like building a ship in a bottle


As expected, UEFA has postponed this year’s European Championship until 2021. It’s a setback for FIFA, who were planning to launch the all-new Club World Cup that summer - a calendar clash that is set to be solved by moving the world governing body's ambitious, 24-team event to the 2022 close season. The World Cup is on that year, of course, but as it’s being held in Qatar, it won’t be played until the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months. So what do you know: in the end, fiddling about with the football calendar to fit in the Qatar World Cup has helped to resolve the issues caused by this coronavirus-enforced stop in play.

Euro 2020 delay frees up space in the football calendar - as long as the coronavirus subsides in time...

Delaying the Euros opens up space in the schedule to complete club seasons on the domestic and European front - but we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, of course. The action will only resume when Covid-19 permits it to. LaLiga head Javier Tebas is keen to start up as soon as possible, even if it’s behind closed doors. He’s worried about television revenue, which is, by a distance, clubs’ greatest source of income, far outstripping gate receipts. As for the European competitions, there is growing support for a pared-down version of both, with single-match ties and the semi-finalists playing a ‘final four’ mini-tournament.

That would free up a number of dates. There are plenty of details still to iron out, though. For example, UEFA is asking clubs for compensation for the losses incurred by putting off the Euros, arguing that the delay is so they can complete their competitions. The Copa América, which this year had been organised in sync with the European Championship, has also been postponed, as the pandemic has hit South America, too. So a large number of Europe-based players will now no longer have to be released for that. It could well all fit together, but it’s going to take the precision and care with which a ship is built inside a bottle, feeding every last little part into place one by one. I think the right decisions are being taken.