A miniature tournament featuring the best teams left in Europe’s top competitions could decide the winners of this season’s Champions League and Europa League following the coronavirus outbreak.
Both the Champions League and Europa League have been suspended until further notice, and the idea of a mini-tournament is one set to be floated during a conference call to be held between organisers on Tuesday, per BBC Sport’s Simon Stone.
There have been 7,114 deaths as a result of the coronavirus from a little more than 181,000 confirmed cases worldwide as of Monday, March 16, per the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
It’s expected that Euro 2020—currently scheduled to take place between June 12 and July 12—will be postponed for one year in order to accommodate domestic leagues finishing their seasons.
Stone explains there were still 14 combined round-of-16 matches to be played from both the Champions League and Europa League at the time when the campaign was paused prematurely. Quarter-finals and semi-finals could be reduced to single-leg fixtures in order to save some of the required time.
Istanbul in Turkey and Gdansk and Poland were due to host the respective finals and could still be utilised as host countries for any one-off tournament, which would presumably take place behind closed doors.
ESPN’s Dale Johnson highlighted a problem in that some countries experiencing the dangers caused by COVID-19 at different rates may lead to an even more disjointed calendar:
The plan would still have an impact on this summer’s transfer window and possibly delay the start of next season, though fans may be pleased to hear of an even slightly feasible football fix.