The Champions League and Europa League finals were postponed indefinitely yesterday by Uefa in response to the health crisis across Europe.
An inevitable suspension, which follows the cancellation of elite European leagues as well as Euro 2020, came after Fifa president Gianni Infantino admitted the crisis would lead to notable changes at the very top of football.
Istanbul was set to host the men's Champions League showpiece on May 30, while the Europa League final was due to take place on May 27 in Gdansk.
Uefa said in a statement that "no decision has yet been made on rearranged dates", but a working group, established last week as a result of the conference call with Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, "will analyse the options available".
"The group has already begun its examination of the calendar," said the governing body, adding: "Announcements will be made in due course."
Euro 2020 was put back 12 months last week in order to break the logjam of fixtures when the Premier League and other divisions across Europe eventually reconvene.
The Premier League is understood to be tentatively planning to restart games from June 1, which would allow it to finish the season within the space of six weeks and begin the 2020-’21 campaign on August 8.
However, the June 1 behind-closed-doors start date, in 10 weeks’ time, is a best-case scenario, and may be placed in doubt by last night’s lockdown orders from the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Dates of June 24 and 27 for the Europa League and Champions League finals to be rearranged for were discussed during the Uefa meeting last week, but look impossible. Vienna was set to host the women’s Champions League final on May 24, but a new date will be sought.
In a separate announcement, Infantino conceded that “less tournaments, fewer teams and less games” will be considered in future. With Copa America also postponed, teams will be in chaos for at least a year, and there will be pressure on Fifa to shelve plans to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup from 2021. “We can perhaps reform world football by taking a step back, with different formats,” Infantino told ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Gary Neville believes behind-close-doors matches could be a way to get the English football season finished, but he admits 'a lot of things to happen' before that prospect becomes reality amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.