Tuesday's soccer news starts with UEFA and CONMEBOL responding to the need for a compressed club schedule by pushing EURO 2020 and the 2020 Copa America to the summer of 2021. Both tournaments are now on the schedule for June 11 - July 11, 2021.
"It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and therefore responds to the fundamental need to avoid an exponential evolution of the virus already present in all the countries of the Member Associations of the Confederation," CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said in a press statement. It has not been easy for CONMEBOL to make this decision, but we must safeguard at all times the health of our athletes and of all the personnel who are part of the great family of South American football."
With the club competitions, UEFA didn't confirm reports that they will reschedule the Europa League final for June 24 and the Champions League final for June 27. The continent's domestic leagues would finish their seasons between the resumption of play and the third week of June. UEFA's decision on EURO 2020 came on a conference call held with representatives of the leagues, clubs, and FIFPro.
UEFA's push to get the games in at the expense of their premier international competition speaks to the reality of the situation. There's a hard stop to the season for domestic leagues. Contracts with players as well as broadcasters would need rearranging, and the 2020-21 season pushed back. That's in part to Champions League qualifying starting in late June. With the preliminary round of qualifiers scheduled for June 23 and 26, that's now before the new date for this season's Champions League final. FIFA has not commented on the June international break, scheduled for the 1-9. Concacaf has the Nations League semifinals and final during that window. With the suspension of games during the March 23-31 break, the last time national teams met with their full squads was in November.
When the European seasons resume is an open question, with the original target the first week in April. How realistic that might be depends on the attempts to lessen the transmission of the coronavirus. Since no one can accurately predict that European soccer, along with the rest of society, is still waiting for a clear indication of when it will be safe to resume normal activities.
The National Basketball Association and MLS announced hiatuses of 30 days last Wednesday and Thursday with Major League Baseball targeting April 9 to resume. Like in Europe, restarting the leagues requires the virus to recede to the point where it's safe to continue. What that might mean for allowing fans into stadiums is another question. With the United States currently advising against groups larger than ten people, large has become a relative term.
The NY Times' Tariq Panja on UEFA's decision to postpone EURO 2020. The Guardian's Sid Lowe reports from Spain on what it's like in the country without La Liga games.
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