UEFA confirms European Championship postponed until 2021

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Euro 2020 has been postponed until the summer of 2021, UEFA has announced.

A statement confirmed the postponement, with the dates of June 11 to July 11, 2021 proposed.

The official announcement from European football’s governing body also confirmed that the Euro 2020 play-offs, due to be played later this month, will now be played in the June 2020 international break.

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It also confirmed that the 2020 Copa America would also move to 2021 to enable South American players based in Europe the opportunity to finish their league campaigns.

The statement did not confirm new dates for the Champions League and Europa League finals, with June 27 and June 24 having been reported.

There was also no confirmation at this stage as to whether the Women’s Euro 2021 would be moved as a result of the men’s tournament being postponed.

Instead the statement said decisions on dates for other UEFA competitions would be taken “in due course”.

The statement also hinted at some kind of compromise concerning the 2021 Club World Cup, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin saying: “I would like to thank FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, who has indicated it will do whatever is required to make this new calendar work.

“In the face of this crisis, football has shown its best side with openness, solidarity and tolerance.”

A working group has been set up to “examine calendar solutions”, the statement said.

Ceferin added: “The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football.

“There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.

“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice. Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham backed the decision, saying: “People’s health and well-being has to be the primary concern for all of us, so we fully support UEFA’s decision to postpone EURO 2020.

“We’ll be considering the implications for all England teams and our organisation over the coming days, including any implications on the date of the 2021 women’s EURO which we are very proud to be hosting.

“We’ll continue to work in collaboration with the PL, EFL and our football partners on the scenarios that could follow UEFA’s decision today and ensure we’re ready to put them into immediate action once it is appropriate to do so.

“Until then, we’ll continue to follow the advice of Government and the health authorities.”

In cricket, England batsman Alex Hales has revealed he is in self-isolation after developing coronavirus symptoms.

The 31-year-old returned home early from the Pakistan Super League on Saturday, and began feeling ill on Sunday.

In a statement released to the PA news agency, Hales said: “I awoke early on Sunday morning having developed a fever and followed the government’s advice of self-isolation, a process I am obviously still following having developed a dry and persistent cough.

“At this stage it has not been possible to be tested although I am hopeful that might be the case later today so that I can get absolute confirmation of my current health status.”

The Pakistan Super League has subsequently been postponed, on the day the semi-finals were due to take place.

Along with Hales, Tom Banton and James Vince had also already left the country, while Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara and Chris Jordan were among those expected to feature in Lahore on Tuesday.

James Vince was among the England players to come home early from the Pakistan Super League (Tim Goode/PA)
James Vince was among the England players to come home early from the Pakistan Super League (Tim Goode/PA)

The worldwide sporting calendar continued to be decimated by the pandemic with racing, snooker, athletics, boxing, cycling and swimming all called off.

All racing in Britain will be suspended from Wednesday until the end of April,  the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

The news follows Monday’s statement that British racing would initially be run behind closed doors until the end of March, while Jockey Club Racecourses announced that the Randox Health Grand National meeting had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday’s scheduled meetings at Wetherby and Taunton will go ahead behind closed doors.

The BHA said the decision will be kept under “constant review”.

Meanwhile snooker’s Coral Tour Championship has been postponed along with the first three Diamond League athletics meetings of the season.

The World Snooker Tour had been hopeful its event, which was due to start in Llandudno on Tuesday, could take place behind closed doors.

But a statement read: “WST and ITV Sport have taken the decision to postpone this week’s Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

“We appreciate this is very short notice and a disappointment for the fans and the television audience, however the assessment could only be made at short notice after yesterday’s announcement from the government which came at 5pm.”

The prestigious Diamond League meetings scheduled for April 17, in Qatar, and May 9 and 16, in China, are likely to be pushed back until after the Olympics.

The Wanda Diamond League said it hopes to be able to stage the planned meeting in Shanghai on August 13.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have scrapped plans to return to training on Tuesday, the PA news agency understands.

In Italy 10 Juventus Women players are self-isolating, although the club say all are asymptomatic.

Melrose have postponed their annual rugby sevens – the oldest competition of its kind in the world which dates back to 1883.

The British Boxing Board of Control has announced that “all public tournaments” under its jurisdiction have been cancelled, and the position will be reviewed in early April.

British Cycling has suspending all activities until at least April 30, as has Welsh Athletics.

British Swimming has confirmed that the Diving World Series event scheduled for London later this month has been postponed.

The British Swimming Championships and the British Para-Swimming International Meet – both scheduled for April – have been cancelled.

British Eventing has suspended all fixtures with immediate effect, just a fortnight after the scheduled eight-month season began.

The Land Rover Kentucky Horse Trials in the United States – won for the last two years by Britain’s world number one Oliver Townend and due to be held from April 23-26 – has been cancelled for the first time in its 42-year history.

The final Hillsborough memorial service, which was due to take place at Anfield on April 15, has also been postponed.

The families of the 96 Liverpool supporters who died 31 years ago had decided to hold a last service after former police match commander David Duckenfield was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter following a retrial in November.

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