Euro 2020 Postponed, along with Premier League
Last updated: March 19, 2020 by Leon Marshal
Euro 2020 has become the latest victim in the coronavirus pandemic as UEFA move the showpiece event to next summer. The tournament, originally scheduled to start in June this year, will instead take place between June 11 and July 11 next summer.
UEFA hope that this delay will enable time for the remaining fixtures across European leagues to be completed, rather than cancelling the current campaigns. Perhaps mindful that ending the current season with fixtures remaining could undermine the integrity of the sport and lead to legal challenges by clubs.
UEFA said they made their decision to move the tournament during a conference call that involved 55 associations, the European Club Association, European Leagues and FIFPro. The European football governing body said the decision was a unanimous one and no association, league or club objected to the move. There are still question marks over when the play-offs for qualification will take place. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are involved in these games. They were initially scheduled for the end of this month, but UEFA moved these dates to the international break at the start of June this year. They have however said that these dates are subject to review.
The decision also has a knock-on effect for events planned next year. The finals of the Nations League, scheduled for June next year will have to be moved. The dates of the Women’s European Championships are also unknown with UEFA stating that further announcements on them will be made in due course. Perhaps the biggest question on every football fans mind at the moment is whether this move will allow the Premier League and the English Football League to finish the current season. An impossible question to answer at the moment due to the coronavirus outbreak, with no indication when it will end. Some experts are predicting that infections in the UK will not peak for another 4-6 weeks and even then, football activities may not resume for many more months after that, perhaps up to a year later.
Hope for The Future
A vaccine against the virus is the hope for many, but despite first human trials taking place this week, even if successful, a roll-out of a vaccine could still take 12 -14 months before being available.
If the outbreak does continue for many months, football authorities have the unenviable task of deciding what to do with the current campaigns. Do they declare the season null and void, or do they determine that the current positions in the leagues stand? Either decision would have incredible ramifications for football. A quick look at the league tables shows how difficult this decision will be.
In the National League, four teams are due to be relegated. Chorley seems almost guaranteed for the drop with just 26 points from 38 games giving them a maximum points haul of 50 points in the unlikely event they win all their games. Currently, 11 teams in that division have 50 points or less. Flyde sets a more realistic potential bar for safety; they are on 39 points after 37 games. They could achieve another 27 points, giving a total of 66 points. Only the leaders Barrow are ahead of that total on 70, meaning 22 teams in that division could still be relegated.
In League Two the gap between 23rd (Morecambe on 32) and the top teams (Crewe and Swindon on 69) is 37 with 27 points possible, meaning any club below 6th place could still be theoretically relegated.
The pattern continues in League One, Tranmere on 32 points after 34 games mean even second-placed Rotherham and teams below them could be in trouble. And in the Championship, Charlton’s 39 points from 37 games gives them a possible tally of 66, 2 more than Fulham in third have.
It is, however, the Premier League that will attract the most attention. Liverpool’s almost insurmountable lead of 25 points has led to many calling for them to be declared the winners of the Premier League. The flip side of that, of course, is that if you announce a winner, you need losers. As things stand, that would be Norwich (21pts, 29 games), Aston Villa (25 points, 28 games) and Bournemouth (27 points from 29). If we take Bournemouth’s potential point tally, they could double their current amount of points with 27. On current standings, that would put them into 3rd, ahead of Leicester City. An almost impossible scenario granted, but it does highlight the challenge that the league bosses face.
Both the Premier League and the EFL have been in discussions with clubs and stakeholders, with the consensus among clubs is the desire to play the outstanding fixtures. Whether this will be possible, only time will tell.
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