UEFA are plotting mini tournaments to decide the Champions League and Europa League

  • Oli Moore

The coronavirus has left sporting organisers across the globe scratching their heads over the last few days and weeks.

Sporting events left, right and centre are being cancelled or postponed as society tries to comes to terms with the spread of the virus.

Multiple options for how to conclude the season have been put forward by fans, pundits and club officials in an effort to give the season the fairest possible conclusion if it can’t be properly finished off in the coming months.

And that’s all before we have to tackle the issue of the European Championships this summer.

Whilst the associations of footballing leagues around the world try to determine problems such as title winners, relegation and promotion, UEFA are thinking of ways to conclude the Champions League and Europa League, having already called off this week’s planned European games. They could also look at postponing Euro 2020 for 12 months.

European football chiefs will hold a series of teleconferences on Tuesday to decide their approach to the virus.

One of the most controversial ideas to surface so far for the Champions League and Europa League is the possibility of four-team mini tournaments to find the winner of both competitions.

That would free-up time for the domestic leagues to be finished in June and July if football can be continued by then. 

But when both tournaments are at the last-16 stage how will that be possible?

The UEFA plan would see the remaining last-16 ties being played as normal once football is allowed to return.

The quarter-final games would then be played as one-off ties, with either the team being drawn first having home advantage or the game being played on neutral soil.

The mini-tournament idea would then come in at the semi-final stage.

The remaining four teams in the Champions League would all travel to Istanbul, where the final is due to be played, and the final-four in the Europa League would likewise travel to Gdansk.

Both tournaments would be played to completion over four days in successive weeks, with two one-off semi-finals played back-to-back before the final.

An issue that isn’t currently clear is whether fans would even be allowed to travel to the tournaments.

It’s hardly an ideal situation and one that might not please fans, clubs and broadcasters. But with so much uncertainty still hanging over the resumption of sport, there might not even be an option for the plan to happen anyway.

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