UEFA’S Champions League Plan Seems Wishful Thinking
With European football in something of a state of paralysis at present, everyone is asking the obvious question as to when competitions such as the Champions League and the Europa League will resume and although we don’t know for certain, there is some semblance of when the final could be played.
That’s because UEFA have stated that they would envisage the Champions League final taking place on August 29th and although a date of five months away at least gives a target for everyone to work towards, at the same time there is a sense that even this could be something of a pipe dream.
With cross-continental travel at a real low, there is the issue of how each of the two competitions stated above work their way to their respective showpiece events and with top level football not looking likely to return until June at the very earliest (and even that must be considered something of a conservative estimate), one wonders if the schedules may have to be trimmed accordingly.
A potential scenario could see the remaining knockout fixtures played on a single tie basis and although there is something to be said for sporting integrity, you get the feeling that concessions will have to be made. Of course, for this to happen there would have to be an easing on flight restrictions to allow clubs to move across Europe and with that looking something of a stretch, another alternative will have to be considered.
With Istanbul and Gdansk acting as host venues for the Champions League and the Europa League, a more logical idea is to hold a mini-tournament in these cities to build up to the final. This would mean that the last eight teams in both would fly to the one location and from there, the competitions would be played in straight knockouts.
That in theory sounds like a good idea and would be a slight replacement for the delayed European Championships. However, there is still the small issue of how you get to the last eight with the tournaments being in the current state of the hiatus, although if the logjam of the Round of 16 can be cleared, things then look slightly clearer.
Ultimately, the date that UEFA have quoted is still a favoured option but there can be no guarantee that this is viable and they like all the other domestic governing bodies will just have to patiently monitor this constantly unfolding situation.
There’s no doubt that everyone connected with the beautiful game is willing the sport to return and the soonest possible date, fundamentally though it needs to be done when it is safe and although the intentions are well served, you get the feeling that the wait might still be a little longer then first hoped. Stay safe everyone.