The European football championship has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Euro 2020 will now take place in 2021, giving club sides more time to complete their domestic leagues
- The Copa America, which was set to involve the Socceroos for the first time, has also been postponed until 2021
- The French Open has been delayed until September, after the US Open, and cycling races in France and Belgium have been postponed
The South American championship, the Copa America, which was set to feature the Socceroos for the first time, has also been bumped back to 2021.
Speaking after a video conference involving all the major stakeholders, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the spreading coronavirus “makes football and all life in Europe quite impossible”.
UEFA made the announcement with the aim of allowing clubs to finish their domestic seasons before June 30.
“Postponing the [European championship] is the only chance to get the national leagues and to all the club competitions to finish,” Ceferin said.
“But also that is not sure for now. But we should now think about the health, the [families] of the players, and the players.
“We have to think about football as a whole, the whole ecosystem of football.”
Originally scheduled to take place in 12 different countries from June 12 to July 12, UEFA has moved the tournament to next year from June 11 to July 11.
Ceferin admitted that the postponement would cost UEFA “hundreds of millions of Euros” but that the organisation “will come out stronger than ever”.
Socceroos Copa America debut delayed
Copa America has been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak in South America.
South American soccer body CONMEBOL said the tournament in Colombia and Argentina would be played between June 11 and July 11 next year.
CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez says “it is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and it answers the fundamental need to avoid an exponential development of the virus”.
The Socceroos were set to participate in the Copa America for the first time this year as one of two guest nations, alongside current Asian Cup champions Qatar.
Due to the moving of two major continental championships, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he was ready to ask China to postpone next year’s 24-team Club World Cup, the inaugural tournament being originally scheduled for 2021.
Jamie Maclaren will have to wait to test his goalscoring prowess against the South American heavyweights. (AAP: James Gourley)
Infantino said he would propose talks with the Chinese Government and the country’s soccer officials in a call Wednesday with a panel of FIFA vice-presidents.
The FIFA president will suggest rescheduling the club tournament to later in 2021, or in either 2022 or 2023.
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French Open moved to September
This year’s French Open has been moved from May 24 to June 7, to September 20 to October 4.
The new dates are just one week after the completion of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, meaning this year’s French Open will be the final grand slam of the season.
Ashleigh Barty’s title defence will have to be put on hold for a few extra months. (AP: Christophe Ena)
“We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this unprecedented situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend,” the president of the French tennis federation Bernard Giudicelli, said in a statement.
“We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety.”
The announcement caused some discussion in tennis circles, with the decision to change the date of the championships coming as a surprise to many.
Seven-time grand slam doubles winner Jamie Murray tweeted, “Strong Move by French Open/FFT to move to end of Sept. I thought the powers that be in tennis were supposed to be all about working together these days?”
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The new dates clash with the international team competition, the Laver Cup, currently scheduled to take place in Boston from September 25 to 27.
The US Open released a statement saying the United States Tennis Association was “continuing to plan for the 2020 US Open and is not at this time implementing any changes to the schedule”.
“These are unprecedented times, though, and we are assessing all of our options, including the possibility of moving the tournament to a later date,” it said.
“We recognise that such a decision should not be made unilaterally, and therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup.”
Tennis around the world is currently suspended until April 20 at the earliest.
Cycling monuments cancelled
Organisers confirmed that the one day cycling classics Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Leige have also both been cancelled.
The Tour of Flanders was also postponed overnight, joining Milan-San Remo on the list of postponed events that has hit the UCI tour, including the Giro d’Italia grand tour.
The cobbled classics have been suspended, with no new date yet advised. (Reuters: Francois Lenoir)
“The new measures imposed by the Federal Government prevent us from organising the Tour of Flanders on April 5,” said the CEO of the Flanders Classics, Tomas Van Den Spiegel.
“There are, of course, more important issues than bike racing right now.
“We hope that we will all succeed in creating a climate in which we can, in the short term, resume our normal daily lives.”
The Tour of Flanders has not been cancelled since 1918. Leige-Bastogne-Leige was last cancelled in 1942.
Paris-Roubaix, won by Australians Mathew Hayman in 2016 and Stuart O’Grady in 2007, has not been cancelled since 1942.
Organisers of both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix both said they hoped to find a new date for the race later in the season.