UEFA has announced that Euro 2020 will be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic ©Getty Images

UEFA has announced that Euro 2020 will be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, taken by UEFA’s Executive Committee, followed emergency videoconference meetings held today with the Presidents and general secretaries of the 55 national associations, as well as representatives of the European Club Association, European Leagues and FIFPro Europe.

The tournament, which was due to have taken place in 12 cities across Europe from June 12 to July 12 this year, will now be held from June 11 to July 11 next year.

The postponement gives an opportunity for European leagues that have been suspended to now be completed.

"The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches," a UEFA statement reads.

"The move will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed."

Announcing the decision, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: "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.

"It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.

"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. 

"There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.

"It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice. 

"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."

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said the health of fans, staff and players has to be the continental governing body's number one priority ©Getty Images
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said the health of fans, staff and players has to be the continental governing body's number one priority ©Getty Images

Moving Euro 2020 back a year will have ripple effects on the international football calendar. 

UEFA's Nations League and the European Under-21 Championships are also scheduled to take place next summer.

The 2021 UEFA Women's European Championship is set to be held in England and begins on July 7, four days prior to the proposed men's final.

The expanded Club World Cup, organised by world football's governing body FIFA and scheduled for the summer of 2021, now appears unlikely to go ahead as planned.

Decisions on dates for other UEFA competitions, whether club or national team for men or women, will be taken and announced in due course, according to the continental governing body.

The Norwegian Football Association was first to announce today's news.

A number of other football associations have given their reaction, including the French Football Federation, whose President Noël Le Graët said the national governing body "fully supports" UEFA's decision.

"This wise and pragmatic decision by UEFA makes it possible to fully register in the urgency and the priority of collective action to fight against the coronavirus, while allowing to consider ending the national professional and amateur championships which could be prolonged until June," Le Graët said.

All UEFA competitions and matches, including friendlies, for clubs and national teams for both men and women have been put on hold until further notice.

The UEFA Euro 2020 play-off matches and international friendlies, scheduled for the end of March, will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.

A working group has been set up with the participation of leagues and club representatives to examine calendar solutions that would allow for the completion of the current season and any other consequence of the decision made today.

The news comes on the same day that the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced this year's Copa América, scheduled to have taken place in Argentina and Colombia from June 12 to July 12, has also been postponed until 2021 due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.

"I would also like to thank Alejandro Domínguez and CONMEBOL, who have agreed to move CONMEBOL’s 2020 Copa América in order to follow the recommendations issued by the international public health organisations to enact extreme measures and as a result of Euro 2020 being postponed," Čeferin added.

"This means that clubs and leagues in Europe will have as little disruption as possible in the availability of their players. 

"These joint efforts and especially this coordinated and responsible decision, are deeply appreciated by the whole European football community.

"I would like to thank FIFA and its President, Gianni Infantino, who has indicated it will do whatever is required to make this new calendar work. 

"In the face of this crisis, football has shown its best side with openness, solidarity and tolerance."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has called for a Bureau of the Council conference call tomorrow, during which he says he will suggest to accept the postponements of Euro 2020 and the Copa América and to decide at a later stage – when there is more clarity on the situation – when to reschedule the Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023.

He will also suggest a direct $10 million (£8.3 million/€9.1 million) contribution from FIFA to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant disruption to sport and dozens of events have been postponed or cancelled.

Domestic football leagues across the world, including England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A, have been suspended in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Italian Football Federation President Gabriele Gravina recently said the national governing body would make the proposal to UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 to allow time to finish the Serie A season.

Gravina hopes Serie A could be complete by June 30, one month later than scheduled, but admitted it could be extended for another month.

Another complication is that UEFA wants the Champions League and Europa League to reach a conclusion because it also has major broadcasting contracts to satisfy.