SG News (Straits Times)

Leagues must resume by end-June: Uefa boss

By May 11, 2020 No Comments

ROME • Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has admitted the current European football season could be “lost” if play is unable to restart by the end of June, although he did not rule out extending it into the next term as the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of abating.

The idea of the entire campaign being cancelled has stirred panic among fans of clubs like Liverpool, who are on the cusp of lifting their first English title in 30 years, with just two more Premier League wins needed.

While Ceferin did not rule out that possibility, Uefa will be exploring all avenues to bring the season to a conclusion without having to resort to such a drastic measure.

He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that there were a number of options for finishing the various European campaigns, which have been brought to a shuddering halt.

The resumption date put forth by leagues – the Premier League has currently pencilled in April 30 – appears far-fetched, given the alarming spread of Covid-19 and the increasing number of fatalities across Europe and elsewhere, so Uefa has been holding talks with all parties.

“There is a Plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If we don’t succeed, the season will probably be lost,” Ceferin said.

“(But) 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.”

He has insisted that finishing the domestic leagues was his organisation’s priority, even if it meant playing in empty stadiums.

“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,” he added.

“If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships anyways.

“But I can say that I don’t think about the finals of the European club competitions (both the Europa League and Champions League) behind closed doors.”

TIGHT DEADLINE

There is a Plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If we don’t succeed, the season will probably be lost.

ALEKSANDER CEFERIN, Uefa president, whose priority is to complete the domestic leagues, even behind closed doors.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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