UEFA president says season will be lost if leagues don’t resume play by the end of June

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the 2019-20 season could be lost if it doesn’t resume by the middle of the summer with the coronavirus pandemic bringing world soccer to a standstill. With Euro 2020 already postponed until the summer of 2021, the plan is to use some of the summer to finish the league seasons and international tournaments like the Champions League. Currently, every league in Europe is suspended, aside from the Belarus first division. 

UEFA had pinpointed June 30 as their target date for leagues to be completed with numerous top divisions having around 100 games remaining in the season. If leagues were able to resume in April or May, then June would look to be a realistic date to complete the campaign, but as each day passes it seems more and more unlikely.

Ceferin knows that if action doesn’t resume before long, there is the possibility of ending the season right before next season, resulting in the 2020-21 season’s start being delayed.  

“Nobody knows when the pandemic will end,” Ceferin told La Repubblica in Italy. “We have a plan A, B or C: to restart in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If then we wouldn’t be able to do any of these, the season would probably be lost. There is also the possibility of ending this season at the start of the next, which would then be postponed, starting a little later. We’re in touch with the leagues, the clubs, there is a working group and we’ll see what solution is best for all. We have to wait, like any other sector.”  

If play were to resume in June or even July, it would certainly lead to congested schedules for all teams, which could mean three league games every seven days just to be able to get them all in. Finishing up the season in July would make it nearly impossible to begin the 2020-21 season in August. 

The coronavirus has hit both the continent and the sport hard, raising questions on and off the field as to when things will return to normal. Italy and Spain have the two highest confirmed amount of cases in all of Europe and also the most deaths, with Italy surpassing 10,000 deaths on Saturday, according to the World Health Organization. On the soccer side, numerous players, coaches, owners and more in Europe have contracted the virus such as Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Juventus star Paulo Dybala. 

While most leagues have been postponed indefinitely, many in Europe are aiming to resume at the end of April or early May, situation permitting. The 2020-21 season officially begins in August for most, though some teams have matches in July for Champions League and Europa League qualifying. 

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