UEFA LOOKING INTO ONE-WEEK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OPTION

UEFA LOOKING INTO ONE-WEEK CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OPTION

UEFA is working on a proposal that could see the remainder of the Champions League condensed into a week-long mini-tournament, with the final taking place on Aug 29 in Istanbul.

Football, as with most sports around the world, has been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, with all major European leagues suspended.

The Champions League and Europa League are also stalled at the round of 16.

According to the BBC, UEFA wants the Europa League final to be held in Gdansk, Poland on Aug 26, with the Champions League final to be played three days later.

The Champions League final was originally scheduled for May 30 and the Europa League final was due three days earlier.

The European football governing body is considering two options, one of which is to hold the remainder of the Champions League quarter-finals – only four sides have reached the final eight – and semi-finals across two legs in July and August.

This would, however, only be possible if domestic leagues restarted by June.

The second option is to play the remaining Champions League ties as one-off fixtures after the domestic seasons, while the remainder of the competition will be played out over the course of a week.

Both options will be discussed at UEFA’s executive committee meeting next Thursday, the BBC added.

The Europa League is a trickier proposition, given that the first leg of the last-16 ties featuring Italian sides have not even been played.

There are also a myriad of other challenges yet to be solved – one-legged ties must be staged at neutral venues, which are yet to be found, while there are worldwide travel restrictions in place.

Clubs also have to accept a loss in revenue if games are reduced and broadcasters must agree to air fewer live games than contractually stated.

As such, pundit Jamie Carragher has urged UEFA to consider striking a compromise by “giving up” a competition to give domestic leagues the best possible chance of concluding the season.

“Something has got to give at some stage, maybe a competition this season or next has to be taken out of the calendar to free up space,” the former Liverpool defender told Sky Sports yesterday.

“There’s been a lot of semi-decisions… it almost felt like it was buying time, but you have to get to the crux of the problem and make a decision now on this season and next.

“Cup competitions are more at risk than leagues. With the Champions League, I don’t think there’s any way if any league starts you can have it in the middle of that.

“League games will be so spaced together it feels like Europe will need its own situation now. Everything is going to get pushed back… so it feels like European competitions need to become a mini-tournament separate from the leagues.”

-Reuters

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