UEFA will hold talks with every European association on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Bryan Swanson looks at the main items on the agenda…
Why has this meeting been called?
This is the first time all 55 national associations in Europe have joined a call since March 17, when they took the unprecedented decision to postpone this summer’s European Championship by a year.
UEFA has two working groups looking at everything from the football calendar to the financial impact of an unprecedented global pandemic. This is their opportunity to update the governing bodies of each country, including the associations of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The video conference call is scheduled to last up to 90 minutes, and will be chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who has remained in Slovenia.
No major decision is expected. It is thought that UEFA only announced details of this latest meeting because they knew details would emerge, following several leaks during their last conference call.
There will be discussions over rearranged dates for the Women’s 2021 European Championship, staged in England, and Men’s 2021 Under-21 European Championship, held in Hungary and Slovenia.
What will happen to the Champions League and Europa League?
UEFA’s ambition remains to finish their competitions, even if it involves reducing quarter-final and semi-final ties to one game over a neutral venue.
In the Champions League, 12 clubs from five countries – England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – are waiting to find out whether this season’s competition will restart.
Four matches in four countries remain outstanding in the round-of-16 second leg, including Manchester City vs Real Madrid and Bayern Munich vs Chelsea.
In the Europa League, 16 clubs from 11 countries are affected, with remaining fixtures including Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers, Wolves vs Olympiakos and Manchester United vs LASK.
Every round-of-16 second leg was postponed.
Coronavirus is affecting countries in different ways, and therein lies the problem. UEFA cannot agree dates for its competitions to return until the pandemic peaks in their competing associations.
Are UEFA moving towards cancelling this season?
“None of us are in control,” concedes one UEFA insider. “But we have to plan for further dates.”
There is a determination to finish this season, and June 30 remains the preferred deadline for Europe’s leagues and competitions.
But finishing the season in July, and possibly later, will also be discussed.
There is obvious frustration by a lack of ability to establish any dates, but administrators acknowledge that their competitions must always remain second to the No 1 priority of saving people’s lives and avoiding any additional strain on health services across Europe.
Will the transfer window be discussed?
Yes, as will the issue of player contracts. But UEFA will be guided by FIFA’s working group on these difficult issues. Every association will have their own preference, and there is no quick fix.
In terms of player contracts, employment law in each country will also play a significant part in discussions with FIFA. It is a complex situation.
The game needs to work together. This pandemic has led to organisations in world football having to reach agreements like never before, and at pace. Everybody acknowledges that something will have to give, and officials appreciate that there is no perfect solution.
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