FIFA call for Euro play-offs postponement

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FIFA have called for the Euro 2020 play-offs to be postponed and also said that, in light of the coronavirus crisis, rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the upcoming international windows in March/April.

UEFA are expected to announce the official cancellation of the play-offs and also that they intend to postpone the finals until 2021 when they hold an emergency meeting next Tuesday.

In the meantime, an official statement from the world governing body, while acknowledging that the final decision rests with competition organisers, said that “to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.”

The statement from FIFA added: “To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public.

The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.”

The qualifying matches in both Asia and South America for the World Cup in 2022 have already been postponed following consultation between FIFA and the confederations concerned.