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UEFA president sets a timescale on a return for football as he suggests the current season might not finish


UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin fears the European football season may not conclude if a return to action is not possible by early June amid the global coronavirus crisis.

English Premier League club officials have made a vow to do all they can to finish the current season, yet that position could be undermined by UEFA's eagerness to have all domestic leagues concluded by a June 30th deadline.

While Ceferin gave a hint for the first time that UEFA's current deadline could be moved, he made it clear in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica that a return to action in June may be required to get the current campaign concluded.

"Nobody knows when the pandemic will end," he said. "We have a plan A, B or C: to restart in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.

"If then we wouldn't be able to do any of these, the season would probably be lost. There is also the possibility of ending this season at the start of the next, which would then be postponed, starting a little later.

"We're in touch with the leagues, the clubs, there is a working group and we'll see what solution is best for all. We have to wait, like any other sector."

With the spread of Covid-19 continuing to grow across Europe, Ceferin confirmed that his organisation would not be inclined to play this season's Champions League and Europa League finals in empty stadiums.

"It's difficult to imagine all the games behind closed doors, but right now we don't even know if we will resume, with or without fans," he added.

"If there are no other alternatives, it would still be better to conclude the leagues. I can say that I'm not thinking about staging the European cup finals behind closed doors.

"In this dramatic moment, the most important thing is health, and to get out of this crisis. The interruption of football symbolises that Europe and the world have stopped. European football is strongly united."

Premier League officials are due to stage another meeting next Friday as they consider their next move, with any prospect of games resuming at on the current scheduled date of April 30th appearing to be forlorn.

Online Editors