Coronavirus: Euro 2020 postponed by UEFA until 2021 to allow leagues more time to complete club seasons

The 2020 UEFA European Championship has been postponed until the summer of 2021, UEFA announced on Tuesday.  The expectation is for European leagues to conclude during the summer, according to Sky Sports. The tournament was initially expected to take place on June 11 in 12 cities across the continent. 

UEFA held its emergency meeting on Tuesday over the coronavirus pandemic after nearly every league in Europe has been postponed with numerous clubs having confirmed positive casesUEFA invited all 55 member associations, along with the boards of the European Club Association and domestic leagues, and a FIFPro member to attend the video conference meeting to discuss the sport's response to the outbreak.  

Here's part of UEFA's official statement:

UEFA today announced the postponement of its flagship national team competition, UEFA EURO 2020, due to be played in June and July this year. The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches. The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed.

All UEFA competitions and matches (including friendlies) for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice ...

A working group has been set up with the participation of leagues and club representatives to examine calendar solutions that would allow for the completion of the current season and any other consequence of the decisions made today.

Earlier this week, the president of the Italian FA called for the tournament to be postponed a year so that domestic leagues could use up the summer months to conclude their seasons. Most European leagues have over 100 matches remaining to complete just their league schedule, with numerous tournaments yet to be completed like the FA Cup, the DFB Pokal, the Copa del Rey and more. 

The Euros are typically played every four years. The last installment in 2016 saw Portugal defeat hosts France in extra time to capture its first major tournament title. There's a lengthy qualification process for Euro 2020 that spans about a year, which has not concluded. Twenty of the 24 teams have already qualified, but four spots remain open through a playoff round that was supposed to take place in late March. The teams in the playoff are: Norway vs. Serbia; Scotland vs. Israel; Georgia vs. Belarus; North Macedonia vs. Kosovo; Slovakia vs. Ireland; Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Northern Ireland; Iceland vs. Romania; Bulgaria vs. Hungary. It's unclear at this time when those playoff matches will take place. UEFA said those playoff matches are expected to be played during the international window in June, pending a final decision.

Other topics at the meeting include how exactly to move forward with the domestic competition calendar and also what will happen with the Champions League and Europa League. Both the Champions League and Europa League may see their quarterfinal and semifinal rounds reduced to one-leg ties, reducing a total of 12 matches, according to the BBC. There's also the possibility of the games being played at one venue to limit travel.

The Champions League final is expected to be played on June 27.

More travel was going to be one of the differences at Euro 2020 compared to previous tournaments. As the first edition to be played throughout Europe and not in a host country or two, matches were scheduled to be played in Azerbaijan, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Scotland and Spain.

CBS Sports will update this breaking news story throughout the day as more information becomes available.

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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