Euro 2020 and Copa América postponed until 2021
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The European Championship, second only to the World Cup in importance and value in international soccer, will be postponed until 2021, tournament organizers decided on Tuesday.
Hours later, the organizers of the Copa América, South America’s continental championship, which was scheduled to run concurrently with the Euros, announced that they would do the same, moving their event — set for Argentina and Colombia this summer — back a year.
The move by the governing body for soccer in Europe, UEFA, will clear the month of summer dates blocked out for the tournament, known as Euro 2020, and could allow national leagues that have been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak to complete their seasons.
“We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent,” UEFA’s president, Aleksandr Ceferin, said. “It is at times like
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these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.”
Officials from Conmebol, the South American confederation that organizes the Copa América, said they had made the decision to delay their championship to try to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which is already present in several of its member countries.
“It has not been easy to make this decision,” Conmebol said in a statement, “but we must safeguard at all times the health of our athletes and of all the agents who are part of the great family of South American football.”
The decision to delay the Euros and all other matches in Europe came after a series of video conferences involving leaders from UEFA and representatives of clubs, leagues and the global players’ union. With so much disruption, including club seasons that have been suspended midyear, officials appear to have concluded that priority should be given to those domestic competitions and not to a quadrennial tournament that had not yet begun — even one as important as the Euros.