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Euro 2020 postponed: FA chief exec backs UEFA decision

Euro 2020 postponed: FA chief exec backs UEFA decision
© Reuters
The Football Association of Wales also "fully supports" UEFA's decision.

The Football Association's chief executive Mark Bullingham has backed UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020.

The tournament will now take place 12 months later due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the dates June 11 to July 11, 2021 proposed.

UEFA informed member nations at a conference call meeting on Tuesday, with the FA set to step up talks with the Premier League and English Football League regarding when the 2019-20 season can be completed.

"People's health and well-being has to be the primary concern for all of us, so we fully support UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020," Bullingham said.

"We'll be considering the implications for all England teams and our organisation over the coming days, including any implications on the date of the 2021 Women's Euro which we are very proud to be hosting.

"We'll continue to work in collaboration with the PL, EFL and our football partners on the scenarios that could follow UEFA's decision today and ensure we're ready to put them into immediate action once it is appropriate to do so.

"Until then, we'll continue to follow the advice of Government and the health authorities."

UEFA's statement did not confirm new dates for the Champions League and Europa League finals, with June 27 and June 24 having been reported.

There was also no confirmation at this stage as to whether the Women's Euro 2021, which will be hosted in England, would be moved as a result of the men's tournament being postponed.

Instead the statement said decisions on dates for other UEFA competitions would be taken "in due course".

Gary Owens, interim chief executive at the Football Association of Ireland, insisted plans will immediately get under way regarding the four fixtures set to be hosted in Dublin during the Euros, which will now occur in 2021.

He said: "UEFA has made the right decision today in the interests of the health and well-being of football players, fans and staff alike.

The Aviva Stadium will host three group stage matches and one knock-out tie at the Euro's
The Aviva Stadium will host three group stage matches and one knock-out tie at the Euro's (Brian Lawless/PA)

"We support this decision and we look forward to working with all our stakeholders on reorganising UEFA Euro 2021 for Dublin next year.

"We would like to thank all our partners – the government, Dublin City Council, Aviva Stadium and all the agencies and partners who have worked really well with us on the UEFA Euro 2020 project for the last few years.

"We have agreed with these partners that we will now begin to plan together for the four UEFA Euro 2021 games here next year which will be the centenary year of the FAI."

FAI president Gerry McAnaney backed UEFA's decision, adding: "The health of the community is of paramount importance to the FAI so we support this decision by UEFA today.

"The most important thing now is for football to work together during this pandemic. I appeal to our players, supporters and staff to look out for each other and to follow the HSE guidelines at all times.

"Irish football will return and we have much to look forward to now in the coming months and in welcoming Europe to Dublin in our Centenary year of 2021."

There was no comment on the future of Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, who was set to step down after Euro 2020 and be replaced by Under-21 boss Stephen Kenny.

The Football Association of Wales also backed the decision.

Wales coach Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs' Wales were placed in Group A of the Euros alongside Turkey, Italy and Switzerland (Adam Davy/PA)

A statement read: "The Football Association of Wales fully supports UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020 by 12 months following a conference call with the European governing body earlier today (17 March).

"Priority is given to completing domestic competitions in an unprecedented move by UEFA and a working group has been set up to examine possibilities for this season's UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competitions."

The ECA Executive Board confirmed it support the decision taken by the UEFA Executive Committee (ExCo) to postpone Euro 2020 until 2021 with the aim of maximising the chances of concluding domestic and UEFA club competitions for the 2019-20 season.

ECA chairman and UEFA ExCo member Andrea Agnelli stated: "Europe is facing its biggest challenge in a generation, one which is impacting all levels of society including football.

"The challenge to our game is massive and as leaders we have a responsibility to do all we can to protect its long-term well-being by mitigating the impact of the virus.

"Today's decision to postpone the UEFA Euro 2020 is testament to the unity and collaborative efforts of professional game stakeholders to engage in collective decision-making in the best interest of the game.

"The focus now will be to come up with solutions to conclude the 2019-20 club season in the most practical manner and, beyond that, ensure football, like society as a whole, returns as quickly as possible to its natural form and rhythm."

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