European football’s governing body, UEFA, will this month discuss plans to hold this season’s Champions League Final in late August during wide-ranging talks designed to bring clarity to the game during the coronavirus crisis.
The Champions League, Europa League and indeed most professional leagues on the continent have closed their doors temporarily due to the safety measures put in place to halt the spread of the deadly pandemic.
But UEFA has remained steadfast in their desire to conclude the two premier European club tournaments – even if this comes after a decision has been made to abridge domestic league campaigns.
This has led to speculation that UEFA may adopt methods to finish both tournaments in as short a time as possible, with two-legged ties instead becoming one-off fixtures. But the idea is to have the European season finished, in its entirety, by the end of August with all of the remaining games having been played.
This would mean that the UEFA Champions League Final would take place in Istanbul on August 29, with the Europa League Final set for Gdansk in Poland three days later.
The options at UEFA’s disposal include playing the two-legged fixtures as normal in July and August. The second, and perhaps more interesting, approach, would be to condense the end of both competitions into a week-long mini-tournament, after which a winner would be crowned.
The plans are complicated somewhat by the Champions League quarter-finals currently being at various stages of completion. Chelsea, for example, are currently three goals down after the first leg of their tie with Bayern Munich, while Manchester City’s high profile fixture with Real Madrid also needs to be concluded.
The Europa League, meanwhile, may cause UEFA a few more headaches, as all of the last-16 ties have yet to be played, and some of the fixtures involve teams from Italy and Spain – among the most affected countries in Europe from coronavirus.
It is hoped the meeting will also provide clarity as to when – or if – the various European domestic leagues will be concluded.