UEFA have released a lengthy and detailed statement on how they want leagues to finish their 2019-20 season but have accepted many will not be completed.
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Following a meeting between UEFA’s executive committee and the working groups put in place to deal with the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, they confirmed that everyone agrees with “domestic football starting before UEFA club competitions” when the suspension is over.
They also acknowledged that clubs in both Belgium and Scotland had decided to end their seasons due to the pandemic and confirmed that seasons can be canceled due to safety issues and economic reasons, with the top-flight season in the Netherlands effectively canceled due to a government order. However, if safety reasons or extreme economic situations aren’t in place and leagues decide to cancel the season, UEFA could ban their teams from entering the Champions League and Europa League for next season.
“UEFA urges National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion. However, UEFA stresses that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public at large must remain the primary concern at this time.”
European soccer’s governing body then suggested that leagues could actually resume with play offs purely to sort out qualification to UEFA’s competitions for the 2020-21 campaign.
“The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format. Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.”
Simply put, in this statement UEFA has now acknowledged that leagues can end their campaigns for the 2019-20 season however they wish to do so and that each national football association around Europe should decide who will play in UEFA competitions during the 2020-21 season on sporting merit.
Their main aim is to finish the 2019-20 domestic seasons by August so the focus can then switch the UEFA Champions League and Europa League before the 2020-21 campaign would start.
However, UEFA appear to be allowing national leagues across Europe make their own decision about whether or not to end the 2019-20 domestic campaigns right now.
On the international stage, UEFA has agreed to still call their next major tournament EURO 2020 even though it will take place in the summer of 2021, while the women’s European championships will be moved back one year and take place in the summer of 2022.