Euro 2020 and the 2020 Copa America have been rescheduled to 2021 as UEFA and CONMEBOL figure out how to deal with fixture congestion caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The impact of the current coronavirus pandemic on world soccer will have ripple effects that last beyond the current state of shutdown in nearly every competition worldwide.
On Tuesday, UEFA announced that the 2020 European Championships will be postponed for a year. Euro 2020 has officially become Euro 2021. CONMEBOL also announced on Tuesday that the 2020 Copa America would be postponed.
Both tournaments were scheduled to be played from June through July this summer, but with leagues around the world now on hiatus, UEFA said this was their solution for a “coherent plan to break the logjam of fixtures building up due to the spread of the virus across the continent.”
“The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches. The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed.
CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez called postponing the Copa America, “an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation.”
“Have no doubt that the oldest team tournament in the world will return with renewed strength in 2021, ready to make the continent and the whole world vibrate again with the passion that always characterizes us,” Dominguez went on to say in the statement.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that the option of playing the tournament – scheduled across a number of countries for the first time – behind closed doors was considered but not acceptable. “The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty stadia, with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition.”
The coordination of the governing bodies to postpone the two largest continental championships should mean that many big leagues can take whatever scheduling efforts are needed, without worrying about players being called to their national teams in the summer. CAF has postponed upcoming qualifying matches for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“This means that clubs and leagues in Europe will have as little disruption as possible in the availability of their players,” Ceferin said. “These joint efforts and especially this coordinated and responsible decision, are deeply appreciated by the whole European football community.”
It’s unclear what affect the delay of the 2020 men’s Euros will have on the women’s Euros scheduled for 2021.
All that we know for now is that it will take a long time to fully untangle the already crazy calendar of world soccer from the required response to this virus.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.