The football calendar has been decimated as the world looks to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at Covid-19’s impact on the beautiful game.
Which events have been postponed, and until when?
– UEFA postponed Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021, while the Euro 2020 play-offs, due to be played in March, have been postponed.
– The 2021 Nations League finals and UEFA Under-21 European Championship have been postponed while the Women’s Euro 2021 is likely to be delayed.
– All Champions League and Europa League fixtures are suspended until further notice.
– The 2020 Copa America is to move to 2021 to give South American players based in Europe the opportunity to finish their league campaigns.
– The Premier League, EFL, FA cup competitions, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship are all postponed “until it is safe to resume”.
– All Scottish football has been suspended, with the Scottish Football Association confirming it would not resume until April 30 at the earliest.
– The Football Association of Wales and the Irish Football Association suspended domestic football until April 30, while the Football Association of Ireland announced all football activity under its jurisdiction was suspended until April 19.
– The Vanarama National League suspended all three of their competitions indefinitely.
– The FA announced it had come to a consensus with the men’s National League System steps three to six that the 2019/20 season “will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged”. A number of clubs questioned the decision that is to be put to The FA Council for ratification.
– LaLiga in Spain, Italy’s Serie A and Ligue 1 in France are all suspended.
– The Pro League in Belgium became the first major competition to announce it was bringing the curtain down on its season, with Club Brugge declared champions.
What’s definitely been cancelled?
International friendly dates were naturally the first to go and English non-league levels look set to soon follow, while the Belgian top flight announced it had ended on the advice from the Government and public health experts in the country. UEFA has warned leagues that their clubs may not be eligible for European football next season if they cancel their competitions prematurely.
What’s likely to go soon?
UEFA’s letter to leagues may have been food for thought for some considering calling it quits, but the way the coronavirus is continuing to strengthen its grip means it cannot be off the table. Unbelievably, the Belarusian Premier League is still playing.
Is anything likely to remain on in 2020 (on current advice)?
That is the hope but nobody knows when this will be possible. The Premier League and UEFA have underlined their determination to complete the 2019-20 season, although there is an acceptance that may only be achieved in front of empty stands as scenario planning continues. At this rate, Belarus may be the only football fix.
What happens with transfer windows and player contracts if the season is extended?
FIFA has approved the extension of player contracts until seasons are able to finish, and also allowed for the summer’s transfer window dates to be moved to a period of time that is between the end of the current campaign and the start of the next one.
Where does the sport go from here?
Clubs in the United Kingdom are choosing whether to take advantage of the Government’s job retention scheme. While the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool – who later changed their decision – were criticised for putting non-playing staff on furlough, other clubs have been forced to do it to safeguard their future. Public pressure is on top-earning Premier League players to donate some of their salaries to the fight against coronavirus. This is a hugely challenging period for clubs, especially those down the football pyramid, and the way leagues, players and teams handle it is crucial to the future of the national game.
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