March 12, 2020 / 2:09 PM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 2-Soccer-UEFA to consider postponing Euro 2020 over coronavirus

(Updates with postponement option)

By Simon Evans

MANCHESTER, England, March 12 (Reuters) - UEFA will consider the option of postponing Euro 2020 during a video conference with its 55 federations, a source close to European soccer’s governing body said on Thursday as the sport faced up to the growing impact of the coronavirus.

The 24-team Euro 2020 tournament, scheduled to be held in 12 countries from June 12 to July 12, could be pushed back a year or be re-organised with different venues, the source said.

UEFA will hold a video conference meeting next Tuesday and as well as the federations, representatives of clubs, leagues and players will discuss the impact of the coronavirus on all European fixtures, including Euro 2020.

The European Championship is the biggest national team tournament after the World Cup and a major source of revenue for UEFA and its member organisations.

UEFA has declined to discuss the options saying on Thursday that the “discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including UEFA EURO 2020”.

“Further communication will be made following those meetings,” it said.

The source added that as well as postponement other options that will be considered include switching venues and a possible change to the format of the tournament.

CLUB COMPETITIONS

One complication is the need to finish domestic and European club competitions before the tournament begins to ensure qualification for next season’s UEFA competitions is decided.

One football federation official said “all options are on the table” but suggested the priority was finding ways to finish the club season — even if games are delayed until the summer.

This season’s Champions League has been thrown into doubt with the last 16 second legs between Manchester City and Real Madrid and Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais postponed.

A range of options to be discussed for Europe’s elite club competition — and the second-tier Europa League — include reducing the fixture burden by switching to one-legged games, the source said.

Real Madrid and Juventus have sent all of their footballers into quarantine.

Real Madrid’s move came after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive for the coronavirus, while Juventus defender Daniele Rugani also tested positive for the virus. Real’s basketball team was also sent into quarantine.

Domestic leagues around the continent have been put on hold or their matches are taking place behind closed doors.

Two Europa League games scheduled for Thursday have been postponed because Spanish side Getafe refused to travel to Italy to face Inter Milan and AS Roma said they could not travel to Spain to face Sevilla because of flight restrictions. (Reporting by Simon Evans and Brian Homewood; Editing by Kevin Liffey/Alison Williams/Ken Ferris)

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