UEFA has postponed the European Championship, due to take place across the continent in June and July this year, until 2021 after holding crisis meetings on Tuesday, European football’s governing body announced.
The move comes with global sport having largely ground to a halt due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has led to lockdowns in several countries and border closures.
“The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the Covid-19 emergency, to be completed,” UEFA said in a statement.
The move comes with most of Europe’s domestic leagues having ground to a halt over the last week as football confronts its biggest issue in modern times. The UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions for clubs have also been suspended, with both still in the last-16 stage, but postponing the European Championship for national sides means they, along with national leagues, will have the chance to be completed, assuming travel restrictions are lifted in time.
Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with France on Tuesday having joined Italy and Spain in applying strict lockdown measures. The head of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina, had already led calls for the Euros to be postponed.
Euro 2020 was due to be held in 12 different cities across the continent.
The women’s 2021 European Championship and next year’s Nations League finals will both be rescheduled for a later date. The women’s Euro was scheduled to run from July 7 to August 1 next year, with the final also at Wembley.
In addition to those tournaments, the 2021 Under-21 European Championship, due to be staged in Slovenia and Hungary, has also been postponed.