Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is still only increasing in magnitude and impact, with Italy and Spain the hardest hit so far in Europe, but other countries following closely behind.
With that, “distractions” such as football have been left behind, as we focus on saving lives and making sure we get back to the closest thing we can call “normal” at some point in the near future.
Given those trends and circumstances, it’s not at all surprising that today UEFA have officially decided to suspend “until further notice” its competitions for 2019-20. Previously, they had penciled in games for May and June. Our comeback from 3-0 down against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 will have to wait a few more months at least.
The measure was taken after Wednesday’s teleconference between the 55 football associations that are part of UEFA. Their decision also affects the Euro 2020 play-offs (Euro 2020 had already been moved to next summer), as well as qualifying games for the Women’s Euro 2021.
In previous interviews, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin outlined potential plans for playing the remaining matches. There are three options, depending on when football can return — plus the fourth possibility that the season is cancelled in case a “restart” is not possible.
“There is a plan A, B and C.
”The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs.”
“If we don’t succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost.”
-Aleksander Ceferin; source: La Repubblica via BBC
In light of this latest measure by UEFA, the Premier League returning to the pitch on April 30 looks awfully optimistic. Plans for a “tournament-style” finish to the season in June or July or even later will have to be explored more fully in the future as we get closer and get a better idea of how the pandemic is evolving.