UEFA to hold COVID-19 conference
No decision will be made on the status of UEFA competitions amid the coronavirus outbreak until a video conference next week.
UEFA will host a video conference next Tuesday to discuss how European football should respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Champions League and Europa League have already felt the effects of the outbreak and speculation on Thursday suggested an immediate suspension of both competitions was imminent, with similar action having already been taken in domestic competitions across the continent.
However, European football's governing body issued a statement to announce its conference, where the status of Euro 2020 will also be on the agenda.
The statement read: "In the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of COVID-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organisation, UEFA has today [Thursday] invited representatives of its 55 member associations, together with the boards of the European Club Association and the European Leagues and a representative of FIFPro, to attend meetings by video conference on Tuesday, March 17 to discuss European football's response to the outbreak. Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including UEFA Euro 2020."
Despite delaying its decision over a course of action for senior football, UEFA later announced all matches in its youth tournaments between March 14 and April 14 are postponed.
"This is a general precautionary measure, taken to avoid the possibility of players – many of whom would be minors – being stranded away from their families in the event of host governments declaring lockdowns or quarantines," a separate statement read.
Two Champions League matches this week – Valencia v Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain v Borussia Dortmund – took place behind closed doors, while Manchester United's Europa League visit to Austrian club LASK and the games between Eintracht Frankfurt and Basel, and Olympiacos and Wolves will also be staged without supporters.
Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for COVID-19, while Real Madrid have imposed a quarantine on their squad after a player from the club's basketball team similarly contracted the virus. As such, Madrid's Champions League last-16 trip to Manchester City next week and Juventus' game with Lyon – both scheduled on the same day as UEFA's video conference – were called off.
Madrid's move to self-quarantine persuaded LaLiga to suspend its next two rounds of fixtures, while no games in Serie A will take place until April 3. Sevilla's Europa League match against Roma and Inter's clash with Getafe have already been postponed.
All matches in Ligue 1 will take place in empty stadia until next month, while the decisions on whether Bundesliga matches can take place with fans present are been taken on a case-by-case basis. In France and Spain, the finals of the Coupe de France and the Copa del Rey have both been postponed.
The Premier League is yet to take any division-wide action, although City's planned game against Arsenal this week was postponed as a precaution after personnel from the London club came into contact with Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Euro 2020 is due to be staged across 12 European cities in June and July, with the tournament kicking off in Rome. Bosnia-Herzegovina have asked UEFA to postpone their qualification play-off match against Northern Ireland because quarantine measures in the country would compromise which players they can select.
Declared a pandemic on Wednesday, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday there had been 124,518 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,607 deaths.