UEFA to produce qualification guidelines in case of leagues cancelled due to coronavirus

The European football governing body is still urging its members to complete domestic competitions but will make plans for those that cannot finish.

UEFA is to produce guidelines outlining qualification criteria for its competitions from domestic leagues that cannot be completed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but once again recommended that they should be finished if possible.

Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with the footballing schedule, with the 2019-20 season suspended indefinitely across the majority of Europe, which resulted in Euro 2020 being pushed back by a year.

Both the Champions League and Europa League finals were postponed in March after it became apparent hosting them on their original dates was not feasible.

As yet there is no concrete date set for the resumption of a suspended European league, while UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin conceded the campaign would likely be lost if seasons cannot resume by the end of June.

In a video conference with its 55 member nations on Tuesday, UEFA said any decisions taken will be announced after the executive committee convenes on Thursday.

A statement read: “UEFA met its 55 member associations via video conference and presented an update of the options being looked into by the two working groups that were created mid-March. A variety of calendar options were presented covering both national team and club competition matches.

“The funding of national associations through UEFA’s HatTrick programme was also discussed with UEFA reiterating its commitment to meeting the payments to member associations as planned.

“There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top divisions and cup competitions, but some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions – in case of a cancelled league – have been developed.”

Ceferin is keen for European leagues to be played to a finish, and has said playing football matches behind closed doors would help bring a sense of normality back into fans’ lives – and would be better than not playing at all.

“The priority is the health of fans, players and managers,” Ceferin told Corriere della Sera.

“I am an optimist by nature, I believe there are options that can allow us to start tournaments and complete them.

“We may have to play without spectators, but I think the most important thing is playing games.

“In such hard times it would bring people happiness and a certain sense of normality even if the matches will only be on TV.”