The UEFA Executive Committee lays out guidelines for the completion of the 2019/20 seasonUEFA urged National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions to their natural conclusion
Thursday, April 23, 2020
The UEFA Executive Committee met today via videoconference and, after receiving updates on the Working Groups established in partnership with the European Club Association (ECA), European Leagues (EL) and FIFPRO Europe, examined potential scenarios relating to footballing calendars and looked at health issues surrounding a return to football.
As UEFA’s website outlines, both scenarios being examined by the Calendar Working group envisage domestic football starting before UEFA club competitions, with one seeking to run the competitions in parallel and the other to complete domestic matches before re-starting UEFA matches in August.
The Committee also heard of the work of the newly-established Medical subgroup, chaired by Professor Tim Meyer, examining health issues as they relate to football, which is working alongside the ECA and EL to link the work already being done by leagues and clubs to produce a set of guidelines which will align with the best health protocols available. An emphasis is being placed on prioritising health in trying to establish a path to football’s return.
The Committee also approved the guidelines on eligibility principles for 2020/21 UEFA club competitions. The guidelines reflect the principle that admission to UEFA club competitions is always based on sporting merit. Therefore, UEFA has urged National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion. However, the administrative body has emphasised that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public at large must remain the primary concern at this time.
For UEFA, the ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is for domestic competitions which are currently suspended to be completed, thus enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format. Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable for suspended domestic competitions to restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.
Listed on UEFA’s website are legitimate reasons why domestic competitions might need to be prematurely terminated:
- existence of an official order prohibiting sports events so that the domestic competitions cannot be completed before a date that would make it possible to complete the current season in good time before the next season to start.
- insurmountable economic problems which make finishing the season impossible because it would put at risk the long-term financial stability of the domestic competition and/or clubs.
If a domestic competition is prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons in accordance with the above conditions, UEFA would require the National Association concerned to select clubs for the UEFA club competitions 2020/21 based on sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions:
- the procedure for selecting clubs should be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles. National Associations and Leagues, should otherwise have the ability to decide the final positions in their domestic competitions, having regard to the specific circumstances of each competition;
- the final determination of eligible places for the UEFA club competitions should be confirmed by the relevant competent bodies at domestic level.
UEFA reserves the right to refuse or evaluate the admission to any club proposed by a National Association from a prematurely terminated domestic competition in particular where:
- the domestic competitions have not been prematurely terminated based on the reasons given in these UEFA guidelines or on the basis of any other legitimate public health reasons;
- the clubs were selected pursuant to a procedure which was not objective, transparent and non-discriminatory so that the selected clubs could not be considered as having been qualified on sporting merit;
- there is a public perception of unfairness in the qualification of the club.