UEFA open to domestic leagues being cancelled ‘in special cases’


Meanwhile, League Two club stakeholders had further discussions on how to proceed during the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA has opened the door to domestic league and cup competitions being cancelled “in special cases” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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 their clubs being excluded from its competitions in the future, but may now consider allowing curtailment of campaigns.

“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.

Football has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic
Football has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic (Mike Egerton/PA)

UEFA said any decisions on those guidelines would be announced after Thursday’s meeting of its executive committee.

The Scottish Professional Football League board has the right to make a decision on bringing the Premiership season to an end but is expected to consult with clubs before going ahead.

However, this announcement from UEFA would appear to open the door to the Scottish 2019-20 top-flight campaign being brought to an early end.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed concerns on Monday about the possibility of even staging behind-closed-doors matches because of social distancing rules.

The Belgian Pro League announced at the start of the month that it was cancelling its season, with Club Brugge declared champions. The decision is yet to be ratified.

The SPFL could decide to end the Ladbrokes Premiership season
The SPFL could decide to end the Ladbrokes Premiership season (Ian Rutherford/PA)

In England, Premier League clubs are still exploring scheduling models for how they could complete the season.

Failure to do so would prove very costly. It has been reported that Sky Sports would not seek a rebate in the event of a curtailed campaign, but that would still leave the clubs owing a collective GBP 370million.

The scenarios presented to the associations were all understood to culminate in the Champions League and Europa League taking place in August, with the final of the Champions League believed to be pencilled in for August 29.

The format of the remainder of those competitions – for instance whether ties remain at two legs or drop to one – is entirely dependent on how much time is available for the matches to be played.

League Two clubs discussed the ongoing situation on Tuesday
League Two clubs discussed the ongoing situation on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

Meanwhile, League Two club stakeholders discussed the continuing coronavirus situation on Tuesday.

The PA news agency understands there remains an overall desire to try and finish the season, although some believe there needs to be a deadline to work to.

Play in League Two would only resume in line with Government regulations, while Tuesday’s meeting had no crossover to their League One counterparts.