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UEFA postpones Euro 2020 by a year due to coronavirus

LAUSANNE: The European championship, due to be played in June and July this year, has been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, European football’s governing body UEFA said on Tuesday.

UEFA said the new proposed dates for the tournament were June 11 to July 11 next year, as Euro 2020 becomes Euro 2021. It said the postponement would “will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed”.

The announcement comes after UEFA held crisis talks with its national associations as well as clubs and players bodies via videoconference, as the continent fights to deal with the health crisis. “The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches,” UEFA said in a statement.

Most of Europe’s domestic leagues have ground to a halt over the last week as football confronts its biggest issue in modern times.

Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with France on Tuesday joining Italy and Spain in applying strict lockdown measures and European leaders also planning to ban all non-essential travel into the continent.

More than 2,100 people have died in Italy, which was supposed to host the opening game of Euro 2020 in Rome.

The UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions for clubs have been suspended, with both still in the last-16 stage, but postponing the European Championship means they, along with national leagues, will have the chance to be completed, assuming travel restrictions are lifted in time.

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