Report: UEFA considering one-leg format to finish competition
According to a report by The Mirror reporter John Cross, UEFA is considering slashing its Champions League and Europa League tournaments nearly in half the rest of the way in order to finish the competitions after COVID-19 fears caused an indefinite suspension of play.
The report states that UEFA could chop down the remaining fixtures in this season’s tournament from two-legged matches to 90-minute matches to lessen the load on the calendar as the European governing body tries to conceptualize how to proceed when play theoretically resumes from the coronavirus hiatus. It is unclear who would be the host club in each individual situation.
The Champions League was halted in the middle of the Round of 16, with Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta, and RB Leipzig already confirmed through to the quarterfinals but the other four matchups still in question. Manchester City and Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, Juventus and Lyon, and Barcelona and Napoli all have second legs to contest.
The Europa League is in a similar situation, also in the midst of its Round of 16 with every single matchup yet to be determined. All but the two matchups involving Italian teams have concluded the first leg of the matchups, with Manchester United thrashing LASK 5-0 and Wolves drawing Olympiakos 1-1 on Friday.
The aim, according to Cross’s report, is to hold firm to the finals dates, with the Champions League final scheduled for May 30 in Istanbul, while the Europa League final will be contested May 27 in Gdansk, Poland. The report states that the Round of 16 would finish as planned, and then both the quarterfinals and semifinals would be moved to a one-off game similar to a final.
Next week’s games have already been postponed across both competitions and UEFA is gearing up for a Tuesday videoconference with all 55 member associations to discuss plans for both club and international competitions moving forward. While the Champions League and Europa League will be the most immediate concern, the Euro 2020 tournament this summer could be a major talking point as well. It may be possible that Euro 2020 is postponed to next summer or outright cancelled in order to make room for club competitions on both a domestic league and European level. The Nations League could also be on the chopping block to make room for World Cup qualifiers, opening the door to successfully move Euro 2020 to next summer.