UEFA TO MEET OVER OPTIONS OVER END OF FOOTBALL SEASON

All of Europe’s 55 national football associations will hold a video conference with UEFA on Wednesday (April 1) to discuss the latest proposals on how the 2019-20 season’s leagues and cups might possibly be concluded given the depth of the coronavirus crisis.

With Britain, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland itself where UEFA is based, and other European countries in much stricter shutdown conditions than even a fortnight ago when the continental governing body postponed this summer’s European Championship, the June 30 date suggested for concluding the season now looks even more improbable.

Wednesday’s call, with the associations’ general secretaries or chief executives, will receive updates from the two working groups set up on March 17, one to consider rescheduling challenges for the suspended seasons, the other to examine “the economic, financial and regulatory impact of the Covid-19 outbreak”

Clubs, leagues and UEFA are determined to finish the season if at all possible, for reasons of sporting integrity and to avoid owing a huge financial rebate to broadcasters and sponsors, and the groups have focused on how players’ contracts due to end on June 30 can be extended if the season has to run beyond then.

World governing body FIFA, which has overall global responsibility for governance of player registration rules, considered proposals last week for extending contracts until “the new end date of a season”, Reuters reported.

An issue for FifPro, the world players’ union, is that this should apply to all players whose contracts conclude on June 30, not just those a club wants to keep.

UEFA’s president, Aleksander Ceferin, summed up the uncertainty over the resumption of football at the weekend, telling the Italian newspaper La Repubblica:

“There is a plan A, B and C. We can start in May, in June or the end of June. If we can’t do it on any of those three dates then the season probably would be lost. There is also the possibility to finish the season at the start of next season, with next season starting a little late. It would have to work with respect to the players and the signing periods.”

UEFA said in a statement about the upcoming meeting: “UEFA has invited the general secretaries of its 55 member associations to a video conference on Wednesday April 1 at midday to share an update on the progress made by the two working groups that were created two weeks ago and to discuss options identified with regards to the potential rescheduling of matches.

“The meeting will look at developments across all UEFA national team and club competitions, as well as discussing progress at FIFA and European level on matters such as player contracts and the transfer system.”