Europe´s UEFA Football Bosses in a Coronavirus Mess

UEFA president praises Conference League

UEFA praises new league.

BOSSES of Europe´s football governing body, UEFA, seem to have got themselves into a coronavirus mess, as domestic and European club competition scheduling lies in tatters.

With the sport suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an early return to even empty stadium action seems unlikely, as UEFA seem to be scolding some countries that are taking a pragmatic view of matters.

After Belgium suggested earlier this month that it wanted to declare its league standings as final for their current season, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, warned that countries risked losing Champions League and Europa League entries if they took premature decisions.

Clearly Ceferin was told to soften his view and after hosting talks with 55 member federations today(April 21), the latest UEFA directive was toned down to “a strong recommendation“ to try to complete domestic seasons.

UEFA’s new stance is that “some special cases will be heard.”

They might have a lot of special ones to look at, though there was news from Spain this week that a set of protocols had been agreed for La Liga clubs to return to training, once the government in Madrid gives them the green light.

Last week, the Spanish FA, much to the ire of clubs like Getafe, declared it would use the current La Liga placings as the basis of Champions League qualification if the league could not be resumed.

Nevertheless with thousands of people dying and more new cases of Covid-19, UEFA need to be very careful not to misjudge the sombre mood around Europe.

There are feelings in many quarters that the rush to return to football is purely about money and potential huge losses of TV rights.

Over their new and more measured stance over what countries like Belgium said, UEFA said in a statement:

“With this in mind, UEFA is currently developing some guidelines concerning participation in its club competitions, in order to assist its member associations in case of a cancelled league or cup.”

A UEFA executive committee will meet on Thursday to confirm those guidelines, and then Belgian officials are set to resume talks Friday when UEFA’s position is clearer.

UEFA hopes to complete the Champions League and Europa League later in August.

Both competitions paused in March during the round of 16.

Options for UEFA could include a Champions League mini-tournament in a single venue.

August 29 is a target date for the final originally scheduled for May 30 in Istanbul.

UEFA postponed the 2020 European Championship by one year last month which cleared space for domestic leagues to try to complete the season and fulfil broadcasting contracts.

The play-offs to decide the final four teams to qualify for the 24-team Euros have already postponed twice, and UEFA vice president Sándor Csányi said this Tuesday that they could be delayed to October or November.

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Written by

Alex Trelinski