European qualification is expected to be determined on sporting merit if coronavirus forces domestic leagues to be cancelled without the 2019/20 season completed.
A possible points per game system will be used by UEFA to decide which clubs will be playing in the Champions League and Europa League next term, which means on-field performance up to the point football was suspended will be a key factor.
European football’s governing body’s executive committee met on Thursday to discuss how to proceed amid the ongoing pandemic, and an official statement is expected on how to handle the ‘special cases’ where leagues cannot be completed.
Nonetheless, it remains UEFA’s ‘strong recommendation’ that competitions are played to a finish wherever possible.
A fixtures working group is looking at two scenarios – in the first the European club competitions would run in parallel with domestic action, as they do in normal circumstances, or in the second domestic matches would be completed before continental competition restarts in August.
And UEFA says its member national associations must follow ‘objective, transparent and non-discriminatory’ principles to decide which clubs should compete in the Champions League and Europa League in the event they cannot finish their seasons.
The governing body stressed that competitions terminating early must provide ‘legitimate’ grounds to do so, which UEFA defines as an official order from government or other authority prohibiting sporting events, or an inability to play on due to insurmountable economic problems.
And UEFA will reserve the right to refuse or evaluate the admission of any club if the grounds for prematurely concluding the season are not deemed legitimate, or the process for selecting clubs is not deemed to be objective, transparent and non-discriminatory.
How sporting merit will be defined is not yet clear, but the points per game system is being reported as a likely proposal.
UEFA also announced that the Women’s European Championship will be played in July 2022.
The tournament in England, originally due to take place in the summer of 2021, will be played at the same venues as originally planned between July 6 and 31.
European football’s governing body has been forced into a major reorganisation of its scheduling due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the continent.
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “When we had to take an urgent decision on the postponement of Euro 2020, we always had the impact on UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 in mind.
“We have carefully considered all options, with our commitment to the growth of women’s football at the forefront of our thinking.
“By moving it to the following year, we are ensuring that our flagship women’s competition will be the only major football tournament of the summer, providing it with the spotlight it deserves.”
<img class="i-amphtml-intrinsic-sizer" role="presentation" src="data:;base64,” alt=”” aria-hidden=”true” />