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Saturday November 27, 2021

UEFA eyes Champions League mini tournament due to virus shutdown

By AFP
March 17, 2020

NYON: UEFA are considering staging the Champions League semifinals and final over two weekends in Istanbul in a bid to ensure that the 2019-20 competition reaches a conclusion after it was hit by deadly coronavirus crisis.

Mean while, UEFA believes that a solution can be found in terms of completing the Champions League and Europa League competitions if the pandemic subsides sufficiently in order for games to go ahead.

If both competitions are able to resume, it is understood that they will do so with quarterfinals played over one leg, though several round-of-16 ties still need to be completed.

But there are many issues to resolve for this solution to be viable, with clubs having to accept a potential loss in earnings and broadcasters being willing to show fewer live games than contractually obliged.

UEFA must also find a way to stage one-legged ties, in terms of finding neutral venues or imposing a “first out of the hat” order to any draw. There is also the problem of the host city or country allowing games to be played, especially if travel restrictions and self-isolation measures remain in place. The Champions League final is currently scheduled for the Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul on May 30.

With discussions likely to be extremely complex, sources said that while Tuesday may see a resolution to the issue of Euro 2020, it may require negotiations between the clubs, national associations and UEFA to continue this week before a plan is rolled out for the Champions League and Europa League.