UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said that leagues across Europe were ready to return to action behind closed doors in a bid to limit the damage caused by the coronavirus.
In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Ceferin stressed that the main priority remains the health of fans, players and officials but added “I believe there are options that can allow us to restart cup championships and to complete them. We may have to resume without spectators, but the most important thing, I think, is playing games.”
“In such hard times, it would bring happiness to people and a certain sense of normality even if the games can only be seen on TV.”
“It is early to say that we cannot complete the season. The impact would be terrible for clubs and leagues.”
The UEFA President added “All activities are being organised to start again, everyone needs to find their lives. If safety measures are respected and if the authorities give the green light, the training could resume like the rest. Further consent will be needed for matches.”
Ceferin added that although at first, one could only watch football on TV, it was “better to play behind closed doors than not at all.”
He said that these measures will be in place for a limited period of time and did not fear that in future, football matches will be played in front of empty stadiums. He added that he was sure that eventually we would once again stadium filled to capacity.
While denying a specific deadline for the end of this season, the UEFA president said that a number of options were being explored, depening on when the green light was given for the resumption of training and matches. However he added that ending the season in September and October or by the end of the year was difficult due to the huge impact on season 2020/21.
While ruling out a deadline for the final stages of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League to be completed, Aleksander Ceferin said that he expects national teams to be in action once again in September.
The second edition of the UEFA Nations League is due to kick-off in September with Malta facing the Faroe Islands, Andorra and Latvia. Matches which should therefore mark the debut for new Malta national coach Devis Mangia.
UEFA will be holding an information session for the General Secretaries of the 55 member associations on Tuesday and this will be followed by a UEFA Executive Committee meeting via video-conference on Thursday. This will be an update meeting to discuss the latest developments regarding the impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak on European football.