Given the suspension of club seasons for at least a few weeks, governments taking measures to prevent mass gatherings, and people’s general lives being stuck in limbo as they wait to see how this plays out – it is no surprise that some future major sporting events are also having to alter their plans.
Today it was announced that Euro 2020 will be pushed until the following year – 2021. The tournament was scheduled to take place this June – July, but UEFA announced a shift to June 11 – July 11 2021 as a way to allow suspended leagues to have the opportunity to finish their current seasons.
UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin said:
“We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent. It is at times like these that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.
“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and, in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football. There was a real spirit of cooperation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.”
UEFA added “UEFA would like to reassure existing ticket buyers and hospitality clients that if they cannot attend the tournament in 2021, the face value of their tickets and packages will be refunded in full.”
It is clearly a decision that prioritizes club seasons, while allowing the event to still take place at a time when it is safe for fans to travel and gather in masses – we hope. It is far enough into the future to give flexibility to league governing bodies deciding how to conclude their current campaigns while leaving options available for deciding Champions League and Europa League qualifying.
It is the first shift of a major event that will, no doubt, be followed by more. What this will, or could, mean for future club schedules, player contracts, and the general game is yet to be seen.