Coronavirus wrap: Leagues may be cancelled, while women’s showpiece set for 2022


UEFA could allow leagues to be cancelled while the women’s European Championships has been pushed back.

UEFA is open to domestic leagues being cancelled, while the Women’s European Championship finals are set to take place in 2022.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt sport, the national member associations of European football’s governing body gathered for a conference call on Tuesday for an update on “a variety of calendar options” to complete the 2019-20 season.

UEFA had previously warned that domestic leagues cancelling their seasons prematurely risked clubs being excluded from its competitions in the future, but may now consider allowing curtailment of campaigns in special cases.

UEFA File Photo
UEFA is open to leagues being cancelled in special cases. (Jamie Gardner/PA)

“There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division 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,” a statement from UEFA read.

Meanwhile, the Women’s European Championship finals are now set to take place between July 6 and 31, 2022.

The PA news agency understands that the new dates for the tournament in England, originally due to be played in the summer of 2021, have now been agreed.

It is expected that they will be formally announced following UEFA’s executive committee meeting on Thursday.

Tottenham's Serge Aurier flouts government advice to train with Moussa Sissoko
Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko has apologised, along with Serge Aurier. (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko have apologised after they broke the government social distancing regulations.

Right-back Aurier posted a now deleted video on social media of him wearing a mask while running shuttles and sitting next to midfielder Sissoko.

“We recognise that as professional footballers we have a responsibility to be role models, particularly during this uncertain period that everyone around the world is facing,” a joint statement read. “We wish to apologise for not setting the right example.”

Sheffield United’s first-team squad have accepted terms on holding part of their wages and bonus back during the pandemic.

Chief executive Stephen Bettis said on the club’s official website: “This announcement follows positive and constructive discussions throughout the club, taking into account the severity of the situation that the country finds itself in at the moment.

“It is a difficult period for everyone, but our football club also needs to be taken care of and I’m delighted that the players want to mirror the gesture of Chris and the staff by contributing, it confirms that they care about Sheffield United.

“The players should be commended, not only for this action, but also for their role in the #playerstogether initiative with other Premier League clubs.”

In rugby league, the Betfred Super League’s Dacia Magic Weekend – where all 12 teams play at the same venue – has been postponed.

The games were due to be held at St James’ Park in Newcastle on May 23-24 but organisers now hope to stage the event at a later date.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said: “It’s regrettable that Super League has had to make this decision – but in light of the current situation, it is sadly unavoidable.

“Our fans will be disappointed because they were all looking forward to returning to Newcastle; however, Magic is still firmly in our plans for 2020, with St James’ Park, at a later date, one of the options being considered.”

The second-tier equivalent, which was due to be staged at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road the following weekend, has been cancelled.

The Rugby Football League stated that Championship clubs agreed there was “no realistic prospect of staging the event as planned this year”.

The cost of the pandemic to Cricket Australia has been confirmed as about GBP 10million but the losses could be more severe if a four-Test series against India, starting in October, is cancelled.

CA chief executive Kevin Roberts told an online press conference: “At this point we won’t rule anything out in terms of the India series.

“We want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world, whether or not there’s people at the venue. So we’ll explore all the viable options.”