UEFA to consider postponing Euro 2020 to next year, suspending Champions League at crisis meeting

UEFA Euro 2020 mascot Skillzy poses for a photo with the official match ball at Olympiapark in Munich, Germany, March 3, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 March 2020

UEFA to consider postponing Euro 2020 to next year, suspending Champions League at crisis meeting

  • Videoconference will be held “to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak” next Tuesday

PARIS: UEFA will hold a crisis meeting next week, European football’s governing body announced on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to force the postponement of Euro 2020 and wreaks havoc with the ongoing Champions League.

A videoconference will be held “to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak” next Tuesday “in the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of COVID-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organization.”

The meeting will involve representatives from all 55 national associations and club and player bodies.

One possible solution for the European Championship could be to delay the tournament by a year until 2021.

A source close to UEFA told AFP that everything is on the table, from postponing the tournament and changing the format to even changing the venues.

Similarly, according to the source, all possibilities are being considered for the ongoing European club competitions, including playing one-off ties instead of two legs.

UEFA have postponed next Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, second legs between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and between Juventus and Lyon.

Real, who lost the first leg 2-1 at home to City, announced on Thursday that their squad has been placed in quarantine after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive for the virus.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the virus. The Italian side are due to play host to Lyon in the Champions League next Tuesday, having lost 1-0 in the first leg in France.

Two Europa League last 16, first legs scheduled for Thursday and involving Italian clubs have been postponed. The other six matches are set to go ahead, but four will be played behind closed doors.

Inter Milan, who were initially due to host Getafe without fans on Thursday before that tie was called off, said they had suspended “all competitive activities...until further notice” after playing against Juventus at the weekend.

On Thursday, Spain followed Italy in suspending domestic league matches in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

Euro 2020 is due to kick off in three months and the final four qualifying spots are due to be decided in play-off matches scheduled to be played at the end of this month.

UEFA has also canceled upcoming matches in the men’s and women’s under-17 and under-19 European Championships, due to take place between March 14 and April 14.


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”