Football’s governing body, UEFA is today expected to announce the postponement of this summer’s Euro 2020 Championships, as the flagship tournament becomes the latest high-profile victim of the Coronavirus.
While no official confirmation has been made available, tournament organisers meet with officials from national football governing bodies, players, and leagues today. It seems inevitable that the tournament, set to be played out across 12 European countries, will be delayed to hopefully allow the continent’s domestic leagues – themselves also currently suspended – to play out in their entirety.
While a delay to the June’s showpiece event isn’t ideal, perhaps the bigger issue for the sport is whether teams in Europe will actually get to finish their seasons at all. The clubs themselves will also meet this week to discuss, but it seems unthinkable that they will vote to abandon the league season as it approaches it's final few months of competition – meaning no title winners, no relegation and no promotion. Unless, perhaps, you’re West Ham co-owner Karren Brady and your club is currently mired in a scrap to avoid relegation. But while Brady has called for the season to be declared “null and void”, she must also be aware of the financial hit that ending the season now would bring. Consultancy KPMG predict that, should Europe’s top five leagues abandon their seasons, they stand to lose around $4.5bn in matchday, broadcasting and sponsorship revenues. And if Ms. Brady still refuses to budge on this one, then we demand she be sacked from BBC show The Apprentice with immediate effect, her place as a business guru placed under inspection for fraud.
But while the football world sits and waits, it’s good to know that social media has allowed the spirit of competition to live on. Over the past few days, clubs from around the world have interacted via Twitter, playing virtual games and even noughts and crosses in lieu of the beautiful game.
So, yeah, the Euros will play out regardless. Get your money on Italy beating Poland in a very tense tic tac toe series.