Coronavirus: Champions League, Europa League postponed by UEFA during pandemic

The Champions League and Europa League competitions are being postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus, UEFA announced on Friday. The European governing body for the sport said UCL and Europa League quarterfinal draws have also been postponed. The Champions League round of 16 was set to finish next week, but it’s now unclear when play will resume.

On Thursday, UEFA announced it was postponing two Champions League matches as teams deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Manchester City-Real Madrid and Juventus-Lyon, both originally scheduled for Tuesday, had been postponed before Friday’s decision to also postpone Wednesday’s games. 

Here’s UEFA’s statement:

In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competitions matches scheduled next week are postponed.

This includes the remaining UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020; all UEFA Europa League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 19 March 2020; all UEFA Youth League, quarterfinal matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020.

Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course.

As a consequence of the postponements, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League quarterfinal draws scheduled for 20 March have also been postponed.

The decision comes as Juventus, Real Madrid and Chelsea are dealing directly with COVID-19. Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Real Madrid players are currently quarantined after someone from the club’s basketball team tested positive for the virus. Real Madrid’s soccer and basketball teams share facilities. On Thursday, Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive.

Many leagues in Europe have suspended their seasons or are playing games behind closed doors due to the outbreak. La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Premier League have all suspended play.

Four Champions League games took place earlier this week as scheduled, though some were played without fans in the stadium. Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and RB Leipzig have qualified for the quarterfinals.

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