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UEFA: No hard deadline for 2019-20 season to finish, but it ‘can’t’ be September or October

So August then?

Valencia CF v LOSC Lille - Champions League Photo by Pressinphoto/Icon Sport via Getty Images

No one really knows how long this coronavirus-break is going to last. Some say the “peak” is expected in the next month or so in most of Europe and North America, but whether that will mean that we will be able to start slowly returning to normal life remains to be seen. For the sake of our sanities, the global economy, and just life in general, perhaps we need to be able to believe and hope and ideally make it so.

Either way, it’s going to be a while. At least that gives us time to plan things properly, right? Perhaps we also need to be able to believe and hope and ideally make it so in that case as well. Hoping in the competence of the likes of UEFA, FIFA, The FA, or even the Premier League may be as futile as hoping that we recover quickly from this pandemic.

Currently, all leagues (other than in Belarus and Burundi) are on hold, though Belgium are set to ratify their decision to cancel the league in the next 9-10 days. UEFA have not taken too kindly to that (probable?) outcome, but the president of the governing body, Aleksander Ceferin, has admitted in an interview with ZDF that the season cannot be extended indefinitely — despite that being the official status.

(It’s unclear if Ceferin is talking specifically about European club competitions or European leagues, or both, but that distinction not actually make a tangible difference since they’re probably looking for a unified solution and matching timelines.)

“It is still better to play the game behind closed doors and have it on TV, which is what the people need and want because it brings positive energy to their homes [...] and it will be July or August. We can’t play it out in September or October.”

-Aleksander Ceferin; source: ZDF via Guardian

Ceferin was quoted in some media reports earlier as having proclaimed August 3rd as the deadline, but UEFA have denied that in an official statement.

But even as they push the line about no hard deadlines, it seems clear that there is at least an idea of a hard deadline that’s in the back of everyone’s mind.

“[August 3 deadline] is not true. The president was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season. Uefa is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on 17 March. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health.

“Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed, depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities.”

-UEFA statement; source: Guardian

Of course, all the tentative and hopeful planning will continue hinge on the progress of the outbreak, and our efforts to contain it and combat it.

“The fact is that we really don’t know much. We are waiting for the development of this terrible situation in the world, and mainly in Europe. [But] if the authorities do not allow us to play, then we cannot play.”

-Aleksander Ceferin; source: ZDF via Guardian

And so we wait. And wait. And wait some more.

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