UEFA deny August deadline for Champions League conclusion

It was reported that president Aleksander Ceferin said competitions must come to an end by August 3, however this has now been refuted.

UEFA have denied that this season’s Champions League and Europa League competitions have to be completed by August 3, despite reports in Germany quoting president Aleksander Ceferin as making these claims.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a prolonged hiatus for sport across Europe, with every major national football league suspended and this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament pushed back by a year.

UEFA’s two main senior international club competitions have also been put on hold, with both the Champions League and Europa League paused at the round of 16 with some matches left unplayed.

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No concrete solution to complete the competitions has been revealed, however it appeared Ceferin had said they would be abandoned if not finished by the start of August in quotes to German broadcaster ZDF.

However this has been denied by UEFA in an official statement on Sunday, which said that neither Ceferin nor his organisation have set definite dates for when the 2019-20 season has to be concluded.

They say talks are ongoing with leagues and clubs around Europe as to when competitions can be finished, and that matches could be played as late as August should it be required.

The statement read: “It has been reported that UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told ZDF in Germany that the Champions League must finish by August 3. This is not true. The President was very clear not to set exact dates for the end of the season. 

“UEFA is currently analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on March 17. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health. 

“Following on from that, it is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are currently being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed, depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities.”

In a letter to clubs across Europe this week, UEFA stressed that domestic competitions shouldn’t be abandoned just yet. 

“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified,” Ceferin, ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli and EL president Lars-Christer Olsson stated in a letter sent to leagues, clubs and national associations. 

“A joint management of calendars is strictly required as the conclusion of the current season must be coordinated with the start of the new one, which may be partly impacted because of the overstretch.

“Closely following the development of the current situation, the calendar working group will indicate as soon as possible, and ideally by mid-May, which of the plans can be enacted for the completion of the season without leaving anyone behind. 

“It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results.”

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