UEFA do not foresee any imminent change in the format of the next knockout stages of the Champions League or its plans to keep Euro 2020 delayed this year despite continued concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of other sporting events. “As far as the euro is concerned, nothing has changed,” a spokesperson for the governing body of European football told TBEN. Postponed last year, Euro 2020 is now expected to take place from June 11 to July 11 of this year.
However, even if this happens, it is not certain that it will be possible to organize the tournament as planned in 12 cities in 12 different countries, spread across the continent.
“Taking into account the health situation, I personally think that the original idea of a competition spread throughout Europe is unlikely to materialize,” said Dominique Blanc, head of the Swiss Football Federation, in a statement. interview with Swiss media this week.
The semi-finals and the final are set to be played in London, but England are currently on lockdown as they grapple with an upsurge in infections linked to a new variant of the Covid-19 virus.
The UEFA source told TBEN that a decision will be made “city by city” by March 5 with four options on the table: “100% of spectators in the stadium, between 50 and 100% , between 20 and 30%, or behind closed doors. “
In recent days, the Formula 1 Australian and Chinese Grand Prix have both been postponed, while a prestigious World Cup ski event in Wengen, Switzerland has been called off due to increased cases. of Covid-19 in the region.
Meanwhile, the European Champions and Challenge Cups in the rugby union have been suspended after the French government said the Covid-19 variant in Britain made it too risky for its clubs to take on opponents from the United Kingdom.
The round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League is set to begin with the last 16 first legs on 16 February.
There are growing calls in some quarters for athletes to have priority access to vaccinations, but UEFA insists “it is too early to make a decision” on a new medical protocol for its competitions.
In his interview, the head of the Swiss FA, Blanc, proposed two possible solutions for the Euro, one being to organize the tournament in a country, “in Russia or in Germany, for example”.
Another would be to repeat the format of last year’s Champions League finals in Lisbon by bringing all the teams together to play matches in one city “with enough stadiums to accommodate all six groups. That could be the case. from London”.
In any case, he said, “we are heading for a different Euro, without a doubt without supporters”.
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