The Republic of Ireland’s European Championship against Slovakia has been pushed back until June, Uefa have confirmed.
Europe is at the centre of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and playing the Euros this summer was not feasible.
BREAKING: EURO 2020 has been postponed. It will now take place between 11th June 2021 and 11th July 2021, according to the Norwegian FA. pic.twitter.com/CI8yrwja2X
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) March 17, 2020
Ireland’s playoff against Slovakia in Bratislava is now due to take place at the start of June – the exact date will be confirmed in due course.
However, the European football governing body said the situation is “subject to review.”
The FAI have released a statement saying they support Uefa’s decision. Dublin is a host city for the tournament which is set to be played across 12 cities in Europe. The Aviva Stadium will host four games at the tournament.
“UEFA has made the right decision today in the interests of the health and well-being of football players, fans and staff alike,” FAI interim CEO Gary Owens said.
“We support this decision and we look forward to working with all our stakeholders on reorganising UEFA EURO 2021 for Dublin next year. We would like to thank all our partners – the Government, Dublin City Council, Aviva Stadium and all the agencies and partners who have worked really well with us on the UEFA EURO 2020 project for the last few years.
“We have agreed with these partners that we will now begin to plan together for the four UEFA EURO 2021 games here next year which will be the Centenary year of the FAI.”
FAI President Gerry McAnaney echoed Owens’ sentiments, saying he fully supports Uefa’s call
“The health of the community is of paramount importance to the FAI so we support this decision by UEFA today.
“The most important thing now is for football to work together during this pandemic. I appeal to our players, supporters and staff to look out for each other and to follow the HSE guidelines at all times.
“Irish football will return and we have much to look forward to now in the coming months and in welcoming Europe to Dublin in our Centenary year of 2021.”
While Uefa President Aleksander Čeferin released a statement on the sporting shutdown, which reads:
“We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent. It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.
“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football. There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.
UEFA today announced the postponement of its flagship national team competition, UEFA EURO 2020.
Read full statement 👇
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) March 17, 2020
“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice. Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected. Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.
“Football is an uplifting and powerful force in society. The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty stadia, with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition.
“I would like to thank the European Club Association, the European Leagues and FIFPro Europe for their great work today and for their cooperation. I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart the 55 national associations, their Presidents and General Secretaries, and my colleagues from the Executive Committee for their support and wise decisions. The fine detail will be worked out in the coming weeks but the basic principles have been agreed and that is a major step forward. We have all shown that we are responsible leaders. We have demonstrated solidarity and unity. Purpose over profit. We’ve achieved this today.
“I would also like to thank Alejandro Dominguez and CONMEBOL, who have agreed to move CONMEBOL’s 2020 Copa America in order to follow the recommendations issued by the international public health organisations to enact extreme measures and as a result of EURO 2020 being postponed. This means that clubs and leagues in Europe will have as little disruption as possible in the availability of their players. These joint efforts and especially this coordinated and responsible decision, are deeply appreciated by the whole European football community.
“I would like to thank FIFA and its President, Gianni Infantino, who has indicated it will do whatever is required to make this new calendar work. In the face of this crisis, football has shown its best side with openness, solidarity and tolerance.”