Earlier this month, the European football’s governing body UEFA announced that the Champions League, Europa League, Euro 2020 play-off matches and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021 have been postponed until further notice. However, UEFA remains committed on finishing the Champions League and Europa League seasons despite the speculations of voiding the season.
Following the Belgium soccer league cancelling the season, the first top-tier European league to cancel the rest of its season, and awarding the title to Club Brugge, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warns leagues that will prematurely end the season without permission due to the coronavirus pandemic could face a European competitions ban next season.
Earlier this week, the UEFA, the European Club Association and the European Leagues sent a joint letter to their members saying it was of “paramount importance” that competitions, including domestic leagues, were decided on the field. The letter also mentioned about the working groups that were “focusing on scenarios encompassing the months of July and August”.
Speaking about Belgium’s move, Ceferin said Belgium’s decision to cancel the remainder of their season was approved by the governing body and that the country could face a ban from European competitions as a result if proven guilty of negligence to the UEFA rules. A meeting will be held on April 15 to officiate the decision.
“I don’t think this is the right move, as solidarity is not a one-way street. You cannot just ask for solidarity and then just decide however it fits you at that moment. And I must say that they, and the ones who might decide that way, risk of not being able to play in European competitions next year,” Ceferin told a news portal.
Previously, a tough decision was made by the UEFA as their largest European Championship men’s soccer tournament was called-off and will resume after a year due to the threat of global pandemic, COVID, which is currently crippling European countries. All domestic league season remains in jeopardy as the virus-hit season halted indefinitely, causing a massive financial crisis for certain football clubs.
“We will have to use them, but I don’t think that we are in danger of being financially weak or something like that. I used to question that, I was wondering why we have so much money on the account instead of giving it to the federations, clubs and stakeholders. Now I understand how important it was because if we wouldn’t have it, we would be in serious trouble now,” Ceferin added.
Meanwhile, UEFA denied the previously reported conclusion of Champions and Europa League by August 3 according to Ceferin. In statement, UEFA said: “It has been reported that UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told ZDF in Germany that the Champions League must finish by August 3. This is not true. The President was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season.”
“UEFA is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on March 17. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health. Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions,” the statement added.
The UEFA also said that “options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August”, but it’s subject to the national government’s approval. “We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified”.