The Asian Age

European football in a huddle


Geneva, March 19: Top football leagues across Europe are searching for the earliest possible dates to resume games if the coronaviru­s pandemic allows.

They must make a plan, after governing body UEFA this week postponed its European Championsh­ip to 2021 to give clubs a chance to finish their seasons.

Italy’s Serie A said it hopes to play on May 3. Romania’s top-tier league says not before May 16. In Sweden, clubs asked to move their opening day back to June from April 3.

On Thursday, the English Premier League’s 20 clubs will discuss options to restart or resolve the most valuable domestic competitio­n in football world.

Still, any forward planning seems a win for hope over expectatio­n during the near-total shutdown that threatens the finances of some leagues and hundreds of clubs.

“You have no idea if it is going to be possible to play football at the end of May or the middle of June or even afterwards,”

Lars-Christer Olsson, chairman of the 29nation European Leagues group, told The Associated Press in an interview.

“Liquidity is the major problem now,” Olsson, a former UEFA general secretary, said in a telephone interview from Sweden.

As head of the leagues’ group, Olsson is a member of UEFA’s executive committee which decided

Tuesday to postpone Euro 2020. Clearing several weeks for club competitio­ns to continue in late May and June and maybe an unpreceden­ted move into July became Europe’s top priority.

To achieve sporting integrity, European football wants to award titles, decide promotion and relegation places, and confirm entries to next season’s Champions League and Europa League.

To avoid financial and legal peril, games are needed to fulfill broadcasti­ng contracts that have kept the soccer industry booming even through the 2008 global downturn.

— Chairman of the 29-nation European Leagues group


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