Another major sporting event is being postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak across the globe.
The Union of European Football Associations announced Tuesday that the 2020 European Championship has been postponed an entire year, with all international friendlies also put on hold.
“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and, in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said in a statement. “There was a real spirit of cooperation, with everyone recognizing that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.
“Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected. Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.”
The quadrennial tournament was scheduled to take place in 12 cities throughout Europe from June through July.
“Football is an uplifting and powerful force in society,” Čeferin added. “The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty (stadiums), with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition.”
Final details will be worked out in the next few weeks, but until then, Portugal gets to remain the defending Euro Cup champions for another year.