BERLIN, March 17 — German football clubs have demanded the postponement of the UEFA Euro 2020 as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis affecting European football, reported Xinhua news agency.
Moving the tournament is inevitable in order to finish the current club season, the club leaders underlined. The European football association UEFA is going to decide about further steps this Tuesday morning after competition across the continent has come to a halt.
“I expect the national leagues to get more space to shift match-days and finish the season later this summer after the decision tomorrow,” league association CEO Christian Seifert said.
Two options are being discussed but need the approval from FIFA as proposals affect events in 2021, such as the World Cup of clubs scheduled for the summer of 2021 in China.
The continental tournament could be shifted to summer 2021, which is the favored solution by most European leagues, including the German league association Deutsche Fussball Liga.
The second scenario is proposing a move to the end of 2020. The proposal is said to be unlikely to succeed due to a tight national and international timetable.
At an emergency meeting in Frankfurt, representatives of the 36 professional clubs of the German first and second division voted for a temporary break of the national 2019/20 season until April 2. Rounds 26 and 27 of matches remain postponed.
“We don’t expect to restart until after April 2, but most likely much later,” Seifert said.
Drawing a realistic picture, the restart of competitive action isn’t expected before the end of May.
Delaying the Euros would provide more opportunities to finish national and international club competitions.
“We’re talking about late June or later,” Borussia Dortmund CEO and German European Club Association representative Hans-Joachim Watzke said.
“If we talk about a restart, we talk about games behind closed doors. It seems out of sight to run games with fans allowed this season at all,” the 60-year-old stated.
League representatives announced they oppose an early end of the season as clubs would face substantial losses.
“We need to pay attention to over 50,000 jobs in football,” Watzke said, adding that he isn’t talking about the 400 players.
Seifert said several of the professional clubs might face insolvency when “we don’t take into consideration to run games behind closed doors at a certain stage.” He indicated assistant funds could be set up to support struggling sides.
These “Geisterspiele” (ghost games) might be the only way to secure the future of several clubs, the official emphasized. German clubs rate the losses of an early end of the current season at around 750 million euros.
Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness demanded the postponement, or even cancellation, of the 2020 Euros. The 68-year-old said: “The leagues must be finished. At present, we don’t know how long this is going to take, we might be talking about October.”
When decisions can be made, clubs of all German leagues are going to decide about how to carry out future training sessions, while obeying the implemented rules by health authorities. All training in several sports, including youth training and competition, has been shut down indefinitely.
Several local health authorities have banned training in larger groups, which would affect training sessions of all football sides in professional and amateur leagues.
Several clubs announced that authorities can count on individual training strategies; others gave the notice to send their staff on vacation. Strict travel restrictions have been implemented.