Euro 2020 will be postponed until 2021 after UEFA reached an agreement with key governing bodies on Tuesday.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, said that the 24-team tournament, which was due to be staged in 12 nations across the continent from June 12 to July 12 this year, would now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.
During a video conference with all 55 of its affiliated national football federations and representatives of clubs, leagues and players, the decision was made, leaving domestic leagues free to complete their schedule as they wish.
In addition, sources told ESPN the calendar for 2020-21 will be reworked and assigned to a working group, with different contingencies based on the coronavirus pandemic. Another working group will look at the financial implications for clubs across Europe.
An announcement on the Norwegian FA’s official Twitter account also stated that the tournament had been pushed back a year.
“Postponed until 11/6- 11/7 2021. Will get back to you after the meeting,” Swedish FA chairman Karl-Erik Nilsson said in a message to Reuters during a UEFA videoconference call.
European football has been thrown into chaos due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Champions League and Europa League have been suspended while the Premier League is also on hold until April 3 at the earliest. Serie A is suspended, while La Liga has stopped for two matchdays.
Sources told ESPN that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid expressed their “satisfaction and relief” at the decision to postpone Euro 2020, and both welcome the understanding of UEFA toward the clubs.
The English and French football associations were also quick to back the decision.
It is the first time in the history of the European Championship that the final stages have been postponed.
The coronavirus has infected almost 180,000 people and killed more than 7,000 worldwide, with the epicentre now in Europe as infection rates slow down in China where the outbreak began.
Leagues have urged UEFA to prioritise completing domestic competitions, reflecting a concern that clubs throughout Europe will lose significant ticket and associated matchday revenue by not completing the season while still having to pay their players’ salaries.
The European championship is usually held in one or two host nations, but was spread around the continent this time in what organisers said was a romantic one-off event.
The host cities are Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and St. Petersburg.