Lausanne: UEFA has postponed the European Championship, due to take place across the continent in June and July this year, until 2021 after holding crisis meetings Tuesday, the European football’s governing body announced. In a similar development, the Copa America was also postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
UEFA said the move to postpone Euro 2020 has been taken as the global sport hase been grounded to a halt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed,” UEFA said in a statement.
Most of Europe’s domestic leagues having ground to a halt over the last week as football confronted its biggest issue in modern times. The UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions for clubs have also been suspended, with both still in the last 16 stage, but postponing the European Championship for national sides means they, along with national leagues, will have the chance to be completed, assuming travel restrictions are lifted in time.
Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with France joining Italy and Spain in applying strict lockdown measures and European leaders also planning to ban all non-essential travel into the continent.
More than 2,100 people have died in Italy, which was supposed to host the opening game of Euro 2020 in Rome. Euro 2020 was due to be held in 12 different cities across the continent, from as far apart as Dublin and Bilbao, to Saint Petersburg and Baku.
In Sau Paulo, South American soccer body CONMEBOL said Copa America will be played June 11 to July 11 in Colombia and Argentina.
“It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and it answers the fundamental need to avoid an exponential development of the virus, which is already present in all countries that are members of the confederation,” CONMEBOL president Alejandro Domínguez said in a statement.