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UEFA clears way in hope club football can return

FOOTBALL By AFP | April 3rd 2020
Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin during a past event. [Reuters]

Uefa have made a move towards clearing the decks for the return of club football by announcing on Wednesday that all international matches that had been pushed back to June have now been postponed until further notice.

“This includes the play-off matches for Uefa Euro 2020 and qualifying matches for Uefa Women’s Euro 2021,” said European football’s governing body in a statement.

“All other Uefa competition matches, including the centralised international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.”

The decision followed a videoconference with Europe’s 55 member federations as part of discussions on how to adapt the fixture calendar in the face of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The play-off semi-finals and finals that are supposed to decide the last four qualifying berths for the next European Championship were initially postponed at the end of March and pencilled in provisionally for June.

That was “subject to a review of the situation” amid uncertainty over how the pandemic will develop and whether many European countries currently in lockdown will be able to return to some kind of normality.

Friendlies that will not now go ahead include England’s matches in Austria and at home to Romania in early June.

However, Uefa have also stated a determination to finish all domestic and club competitions by June 30.

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While that currently looks ambitious, clearing the international fixtures from the same month does buy some more time as they aim to complete the Champions League and Europa League competitions as well as domestic leagues.

“The federations agreed to hand over the international window in June (two dates) to the leagues so they can complete domestic competitions. Finishing the current season is a priority for UEFA as much as it is for the federations,” said the Spanish Football Federation in a statement.

Carrying the season on beyond June 30 runs the risk of clubs losing their out-of-contract players before matches have been completed, unless a solution can be found.

 

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