The implications of coronavirus across the globe has led to major changes to the sporting calendar and football across Europe has faced major disruption.
A number of matches in the Champions League took place behind closed doors this week and next week’s clash between Real Madrid and Manchester City has this afternoon been postponed, with the Spanish team in isolation after a member of the basketball squad tested positive for coronavirus.
Two Europa League matches scheduled for Thursday evening have also been postponed, after Peter Etebo’s Getafe refused to travel to Italy for their match with Inter Milan and Roma were refused entry to Spain for their match against Sevilla.
French outlet L’Equipe is now the latest to report that both UEFA competitions this season will be suspended and the Mirror suggests that the European Championships will be moved back to the end of next season.
That would allow for the Premier League and EFL, as well as other leagues across Europe, to be extended into the summer months that are usually reserved for the end of season international competitions.
John Cross writes in the Mirror: “A plan involves scrapping this summer’s tournament and cancelling the end-of-season international fixture window at the start of June.
“They would then be able to reschedule any outstanding domestic league games, finish off any championships with La Liga and Serie A currently suspended because of coronavirus.
“UEFA would also look to complete the Champions League and Europa League fixtures which are also in jeopardy because of the virus and countries being under lockdown.”
Usually, the season in England draws to a close in May, with the European Championships kicking off in June and ending in July, before the start of the new season at the end of August.
By removing the European Championships from the equation, the season could be extended in June, where remaining matches would be played, with July and the start of August remaining clear for pre-season.
However, such action would likely lead to a delay at the start of the season, which could see a later end at the end of the campaign, and the situation is made difficult by the World Cup in Qatar.
That competition is set to take place in winter, rather than the summer, due to the high temperatures in the Middle East but that is already leading to disruption in the European leagues.
Cross adds: “The international break at the end of this month is also in major doubt. England’s friendlies with Italy and Denmark are set to be cancelled but Premier League clubs have held secret talks among themselves and are reluctant to let their foreign stars travel overseas for international games given the coronavirus risk.
“England are due to play Austria and Romania in early June ahead of the Euros with their three Group games also scheduled at Wembley which was supposed to be glorious summer for the country.
“But that is looking less likely by the day because of the unique nature of the tournament which is being spread across different countries and would therefore heighten the risk of coronavirus being spread.
“It can also be revealed there is widespread disbelief among major European clubs at English football carrying on.”
Premier League and the EFL are waiting on further instruction about upcoming fixtures after the Government’s Cobra security meeting today.