UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

UEFA and Europe
UEFA and Europe's leading clubs have stated their determination to complete the current football season and threatened leagues who refuse to do so with bans from continental competitions  

Paris (AFP) - UEFA and Europe's top clubs have stated their determination that the current football season should be played to a conclusion and threatened that teams may be excluded from the next Champions League if their domestic competitions are ended prematurely.

In a joint letter released late on Thursday, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues body representing nearly a thousand clubs in 29 countries, said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be.

The Champions League and Europa League -- both of which are frozen in the last-16 stage -- could be completed once the domestic seasons are finished, and "stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season."

The joint response came after the Belgian Pro League announced on Thursday that it recommended declaring the season over with the present table accepted as final.

It is the first European league to take such a measure, although more could follow.

That means Club Brugge would in theory go straight into the next Champions League group stage, but UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues indicated that they may be barred from continental competition if the Belgian league decision is finalised.

"It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results," the joint letter said.

- Not justified -

"We are confident that football can restart in the months to come -- with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities -- and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.

"Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition."

The letter concluded: "UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions."

The Belgian Pro League said it had had "constructive" discussions with UEFA on Friday morning in which it "contested any approach which would force a league to continue in the current health crisis".

It has called for a "varied approach" based on the specifics of individual leagues and countries.

UEFA has set up two working groups to devise a way for European football to get out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

One is tasked with looking at the legal and financial consequences of the crisis, while the other is devising a new match calendar. UEFA and the clubs have set themselves a mid-May target for deciding on the most viable option for completing the season.

There have been calls in other countries for this season to be declared null and void, but any option which rules out completing this season could have serious consequences for leagues reliant on huge television deals and who could find themselves having to reimburse broadcasters if remaining matches are not played.

Justifying its decision on Thursday, the Belgian Pro League said it was "very unlikely" to be able to hold matches in front of crowds before June 30 and that it had "unanimously decided that it was not desirable...to continue the competition" after that date.

The decision still needs to be formally validated at a General Assembly on April 15.


More Related News

Transfer news: Cavani freed by Icardi signing, Saul teases new home
Transfer news: Cavani freed by Icardi signing, Saul teases new home

Edinson Cavani is going to be one of the top targets in the free agent markets, as Paris Saint-Germain's purchase of Mauro Icardi ushers the Uruguayan out of the Ligue 1 champions' stable. Icardi's loan move to PSG from Inter Milan has been made permanent for big money, and the 33-year-old Cavani is set to

La Liga return: State of play in Spain ahead of June 11 restart
La Liga return: State of play in Spain ahead of June 11 restart

Catalan clubs face drama with Barcelona first and Espanyol 20th. Between them? Battles to determine Champions League, Europa League, and relegation places.

LIVE, Bundesliga: Week 29 begins with Freiburg-Bayer
LIVE, Bundesliga: Week 29 begins with Freiburg-Bayer

Week 29 in Germany begins with two clubs holding onto hope of the Champions League and Europa League, respectively, when Bayer visits Freiburg.

We Miss the Premier League, too: How a Liverpool fan in D.C. found her team
We Miss the Premier League, too: How a Liverpool fan in D.C. found her team

We Miss the Premier League, too: A week of stories on Liverpool, which is on the verge of its first English league championship in 30 years when the Premier League returns next month.

With Champions League on hold, AP looks back at past greats
With Champions League on hold, AP looks back at past greats

In the absence of the Champions League final on Saturday, The Associated Press will take a look back at some of the greatest teams, players and matches in the history of the tournament. Memorable moments from years past have been frozen in time by AP photographers, from Real Madrid's record 13 wins to Manchester United's incredible injury-time comeback against Bayern Munich to Steaua Bucharest's remarkable run to the title in 1986. The AP will pick a topic for every letter of the alphabet to remember the greats of the game and the greatest games, going back to when the competition was called the European Cup and through its transformation into the Champions League.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Soccer