But with so many complicating factors, how will UEFA go about staging the ultimate Houdini act and making a success of the biggest sporting postponement in modern times?
- FULL STORY: UEFA confirm Euro 2020 postponed until 2021
- OPINION: Euro 2021? What postponement could mean for England
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
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UEFA have announced they will delay Euro 2020 by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic which has ripped through Europe in recent weeks.
The tournament will now be hosted from June 11 to July 11 in 2021. It is expected host cities Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and St Petersburg will retain their matches.
The Euro 2020 play-offs scheduled for March will now take place in June, subject to a review.
The decision was reached after a conference call involving UEFA’s 55 member associations, the board of the European Club Association and the board of European leagues.
The move gives greater flexibility to complete the domestic seasons, the Champions League and the Europa League over the summer.
ANY NEWS ON CLUB FOOTBALL?
All European competitions have been postponed until further notice, with UEFA setting up a "working group" involving leagues and club representatives to examine the football calendar.
In a statement, they said the group would try to find "solutions that would allow for the completion of the current season and any other consequence of the decisions made today."
However, various reports suggest some dates have already been floated.
Spanish publication Marca are among those to claim the Champions League final will be pushed back to June 27, with the Europa League final pencilled in for June 24. Both tournaments are currently in the last-16 phase.
This relies on the health situation improving quickly – perhaps why UEFA were reluctant to confirm the dates in Tuesday’s statement – as that would only push the original dates back by four weeks.
The proposed, and at this stage unofficial, schedule appears to reflect fears surrounding player contracts with a host of top players (see below link) set to depart their clubs on June 30.
HOW WILL IT IMPACT OTHER INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS?
UEFA’s decision to shunt Euro 2020 back a year could spark a mini domino effect.
The women’s European Championships – scheduled to run from July 7 to August 1 in 2021 – is now expected to take place in 2022 to avoid an overlap with the men’s tournament.
UEFA can take a crumb of comfort from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar being scheduled for winter, freeing up the possibility of a summer event in 2022.
The revamped Club World Cup in summer 2021 is also likely to be hit, while the second edition of the UEFA Nations League is another tournament in doubt.
WHAT ABOUT THE FANS?
Billed as a country-hopping extravaganza, UEFA sold the vast majority of the 2.5 million tickets available across the 12 host cities. They now face a monumental challenge to appease supporters.
UEFA immediately moved to reassure ticket holders, saying they would be offered a full refund if they could not attend the 2021 tournament. They will communicate this in the next month.
But what about fans who have already forked out hundreds – perhaps thousands – of euros on travel and accommodation? With the lure of attending a major international tournament, many supporters will have paid inflated prices to get to their Euro 2020 matches.
As yet, there is no official line on any wider compensation.
ANY OTHER QUIRKS?
Amid the chaos, Twitter statistician Rich Jolly noted that defending champions Portugal are now the second longest European champions in history…
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