Bangkok Post

Season could be ‘lost’, admits Uefa president

End of June deadline set for play to resume


ROME: The head of European football’s governing body said that the current season could be “lost” if it is unable to re-start by the end of June, although he did not rule out extending it into the next season.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that there were a number of options for concluding the season, which has been brought to a halt around Europe by the coronaviru­s pandemic.

“There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in midMay, in June or at the end of June, if we don’t succeed, the season will probably be lost,” he said.

However, he then added: “There is also the possibilit­y of starting again at the beginning of the next, starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs.”

Ceferin has said the finishing domestic leagues was the priority, even if it meant playing behind closed doors.

“It’s hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don’t know whether we’ll resume, with or without spectators.

“If there was no alternativ­e, it would be better to finish the championsh­ips anyway,” he said.

“But I can say that I don’t think about the finals of the European club competitio­ns behind closed doors.”

The idea of the entire season simply being cancelled stirs panic in fans of clubs such as Liverpool — on the cusp of lifting their first title in 30 years.

Ronaldo’s Juventus would probably not be terribly happy either. The men in the famous black-and-white stripes are edging Lazio by a point in their race for a ninth successive title and are still in the Champions League, which they have not won since 1996.

Ceferin hinted that some big teams appeared ready to delay the start of next season in ordered to finish out this one.

“There is also a proposal to end this season at the beginning of the next one and then start the next one a little later,”

Ceferin said.

Serie A and most other European leagues were originally supposed to have finished in May.

Belarus remain the only European nation still playing football in the face of the pandemic.


But the scheduling is growing tricky and time appears to be running out.

Most European leagues are supposed to start their 2019-20 seasons at the end of August.

Italy still has more than two regular months of matches of the 2018-19 season to play out.

A resumption of the current season at the end of June would probably require a delay to the start of the next one until at least September or October.

It would also mean that players get very little rest and would also create problems for those whose contracts are expiring in June.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina sounded fine with that.

“We would all be happy to finish the season on the pitch,” said Gravina told

Sky television.

“We are in contact with Fifa for contract extensions if we need to go beyond June 30.”

Gravina did not explain why he was talking to the world football governing body and not the European one headed by Ceferin.

But he did conceded that his earlier hope of restarting Italian matches in early May was now almost certainly dashed.

“I am aware that it is still too early,” said Gravina. “But we must think positively.”

 ?? REUTERS ?? Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin speaks at the Uefa Congress in Amsterdam early this month.
REUTERS Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin speaks at the Uefa Congress in Amsterdam early this month.

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