(Reuters) - Following is reaction to the 2020 European Championship being postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The proposed dates for European soccer’s flagship tournament are June 11 to July 12, 2021.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin
"It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice," Ceferin said in a statement here.
“Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected.”
Finland captain Tim Sparv
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a really long time. It would have been the first time that Finland was in a European Championship so it’s a bit sad,” Sparv told Reuters.
“But in the general perspective, in the big picture, football is a really small matter. Now it’s about life and death and trying to control the spread of the virus, so it’s a good decision.”
Danish Football Association chairman Jesper Moller
“As things are now, the setup of the tournament in 2021 will be the same as the tournament in 2020,” Moller told reporters.
“Copenhagen has the opportunity to have its four matches. So if infrastructure, hotels, logistics... are in place in Copenhagen in June 2021, then Copenhagen will also have its four matches again.”
French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet
"The French Football Federation fully supports UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020 from June 11 to July 11 2021 and to adapt the formats for European competitions accordingly," he said in a statement here.
“The international matches planned for March, including the two matches of the French team on March 27 and 31 at the Stade de France, would therefore logically be postponed to June.”
England Football Association CEO Mark Bullingham
"We'll be considering the implications for all England teams and our organisation over the coming days, including any implications on the date of the 2021 women's EURO which we are very proud to be hosting," he said in a statement here.
The end of the men’s tournament coincides with the women’s Euros which was to be held from July 7 to Aug. 1, 2021 in England.
European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli
“The focus now will be to come up with solutions to conclude the 2019-20 club season in the most practical manner and, beyond that, ensure football, like society as a whole, returns as quickly as possible to its natural form and rhythm,” Agnelli said in a statement.
Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman
“It’s a pity (that Euro 2020 has been postponed) but football is not the important thing in life right now,” Koeman told Dutch TV.
“We must prioritise what is happening now (with the coronavirus). I had anticipated it would not happen this summer.”
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez
“Since the last World Cup we have worked hard to prepare as best possible for the Euro 2020. But it’s off because of circumstances beyond our control,” Martinez said in a video released by the Belgian FA.
“We must be united together to beat this virus. The Red Devils (Belgium) have always shown inspirational and united strength and we want to make it clear we are all standing together to beat this situation.”
Compiled by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, Andreas Mortensen in Copenhagen and Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond
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