At yesterday’s big European football
summit videoconference, representatives from UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), European Leagues, and FIFPro Europe have unanimously agreed on a set of 10 principles to help navigate football through this coronavirus crisis.
The most headline-grabbing of those 10 was the decision to postpone Euro 2020 by twelve months, and its remaining qualifying matches by at least three, but there was also a big item in the “club competitions” section.
Namely, the powers that be have agreed to keep June 30 as the hard deadline for the completion of the 2019-20 season — regardless of what shape or form that may take.
1. A commitment to complete all domestic and European club competitions by the end of the current sporting season, i.e. 30 June 2020 at the latest, should the situation improve and resuming playing be appropriate and prudent enough.
2. Possible limitations or drops of current exclusive calendar slots, potentially resulting in the scheduling of domestic league matches in mid-week and scheduling of UEFA club competitions matches on weekends.
3. Possible adaptations of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds in case of late completion of the 2019-20 sporting season, i.e. after 30 June 2020.
That last point is somewhat confusing, but the gist of the whole thing is that they do not want this season spilling over into the next season — if that would even be possible given that almost every contract in football (or even related to football) revolves around the June 30 deadline.
UEFA are willing to adjust their match calendar to account for this season finishing close to the June 30 deadline (i.e. reschedule the remaining European games as possible this season, and push or reduce the early-summer early-round Champions League and Europa League qualifiers next season), but everyone wants to start with a clean slate come July 1st. And that certainly appears to be the most reasonable decision given the circumstances — assuming the lockdowns and cancellations don’t extend too much beyond that date and spill over into seriously affecting the 2020-21 season as well.
The details of how the June 30 deadline will be met are still being worked on, with yesterday’s meeting establishing a working group for figuring out the logistics of the rest of the 2019-20 season (i.e. if/when the games will be played and how to fit everything in). There are also plans for a second working group to help navigate all the legal fallout and financial impact from this massive global crisis.
UEFA didn’t put a date on when they might think the current season could be able to restart, and will instead be closely monitoring and assessing the situation “on a daily basis”. The general expectation (however hopeful it may be) is that we might be able to start playing again in early May and UEFA have apparently “penciled in” June 24 and June 27 as dates for the Europa and Champions League finals, respectively.