European federation UEFA has swerved away from an official admission that this season’s two club competitions are null and void.
But that can be the only reasonable assumption from the published conclusions of a video conference among general secretaries of all 55 member associations. What was not said was more significant than what was.
The meeting reviewed early assessments of two working groups created in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and, understandably in the circumstances, was unable to envision a progressive route forward.
A priority of the national associations is seeking a route, one far-distant way or another, to conclude the domestic club schedules.
Hence the fate of the Champions League and Europa League did not even merit a mention in the official media statement.
Four Champions League second round ties remain uncompleted: Manchester City v Real Madrid, Juventus v Lyon, Barcelona v Napoli and Bayern Munich v Chelsea. The final had been due for Istanbul on May 30.
How UEFA unpicks the financial repercussions vis-a-vis broadcasters and sponsors is another matter entirely which is probably one of the reasons the issue was left hanging in the gloomy air.
The only positive/negative decisions concerned the indefinite postponement of all national team matches scheduled for June which includes play-off matches for Euro 2020 and qualifying matches for the 2021 Women’s Euro.
All other UEFA competition matches remain postponed until further notice which means the club competitions – and suggests that UEFA and its president, Aleksander Ceferin, are resigned to the impossibility of completing the Champions League and Europa League.
Certainly the entry deadlines for next season’s UEFA club competitions have been postponed until further notice.
As for the European youth tournaments. Cancellations have been registered for the final tournaments of the UEFA U-17s (set for May) and the Women’s U-19s (July).
Postponements have been listed for the final tournaments of the Women’s U-17s, scheduled for May and which is is a qualifying event for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup; for the U-19s, set for July and a qualifying event for the FIFA U-20 World Cup; and the UEFA Futsal Champions League finals (April).
UEFA’s executive committee has also indicated am understanding that financial fair play regulations will need reassessment, in the light of whatever state the leagues and clubs eventually emerge from the crisis.
Following the video conference meeting with the general secretaries of all 55 UEFA member associations and recommendations made by the working groups created on 17 March, the UEFA Executive Committee took a series of decisions.
On competition matters:
All national team matches for men and women due to be played in June 2020 are postponed until further notice. This includes the play-off matches for UEFA EURO 2020 and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021
All other UEFA competition matches, including the centralised international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.
Youth national team competitions:
(i) the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is cancelled;
(ii) the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is cancelled;
(iii) the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament scheduled for May 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup);
(iv) the UEFA European Under-19 Championship final tournament scheduled for July 2020 is postponed until further notice (as it is a qualifying competition for the FIFA U-20 World Cup)
The UEFA Futsal Champions League finals scheduled for April 2020 are postponed until further notice.
The deadlines related to all 2020/21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and the registration of players. UEFA will set new deadlines in due course.
On club licensing and financial fair play matters:
The Executive Committee reiterated its full commitment to club licensing and Financial Fair Play and agreed that the current exceptional circumstances necessitate some specific interventions to facilitate the work of member associations and clubs.
It supports the proposal to give member associations more time to complete the club licensing process, until the admission process for next season’s UEFA club competitions has been redefined.
As a result of the increasing uncertainty generated by the ongoing extraordinary events, the Executive Committee also decided to suspend the club licensing provisions that relate to the preparation and assessment of clubs’ future financial information. This decision applies exclusively for participation in the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.
Source: Keir Radnedge| AIPS Football delegate