Euro 2020 Coronavirus Postponement
If you haven’t already heard, Euro 2020 has now been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. European football’s governing body, Uefa, confirmed the news yesterday (18th March) and set out their plans to move the tournament to 2021.
As it stands, Uefa plan to keep everything about the tournament the same including venues and host countries, however, the situation is ever-changing, and they will react to the situation as it develops.
Why Did Uefa Reach This Decision
It goes without saying that this decision will not have been made lightly by the authorities of the European game. The spread of coronavirus in Europe has been extremely swift and the World Health Organisation declared last week that the continent is now the ‘epicentre’ of the outbreak.
Following the cancellation of top football leagues and competitions across Europe in the past few weeks, fans feared the worst. However, the seriousness of the pandemic left Uefa with no choice. There was no way this tournament could have gone ahead, especially as it was the first in the history of the competition to have no designated host countries.
12 different cities were set to host matches, stretching across the length and breadth of the continent. This would have made the logistics even more difficult. In reality though, even if there were one or two host countries, the likelihood of the tournament going ahead as planned was extremely low.
Uefa president, Aleksander Ceferin, stated that the governing body’s decision had the support of all 55 national associations and that health must come first. Ceferin also explained that one of the primary drivers in this decision was to give the national and European club competitions ‘a chance’ to finish.
So, What Happens Now?
It is so difficult to predict because the situation is unprecedented. Health has taken a priority for most European governments, with all major sporting events and large gatherings being stopped. At the moment, the Premier League has set a target date to return to play on the 30th of April. But as the situation continues to worsen, this is looking increasingly unlikely.
Many experts predict that the ‘peak’ of the pandemic won’t occur until the summer which is when football associations across the continent are hoping to complete their seasons. Rightly, professional sport has been put on hold for now, but surely we are naïve to think that it will return triumphantly and to business as usual, just as nations and health services are at their most stretched.
On the bright side, the situation has changed extremely rapidly and everyone across the world will be hoping that the extreme measures taken to contain the virus will have a positive effect. We really don’t know what will happen with coronavirus and its knock-on effects to football, however, we will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.