Kampala- Coronavirus pandemic hit the sporting calendar even harder, yesterday, with the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals and European Championships both postponed.
Chan, earlier scheduled for April 4-25, was called off “until further notice,” while Uefa decided on the summer of next year for European Championships
The Chan postponement, a decision that lingered like pregnancy whose outcome was just a matter of time, comes after Caf, at the weekend, also postponing Afcon 2021 qualifiers, in which Uganda were due a double header against South Sudan later this month.
The Caf medical team, whose officials visited Cameroon at the weekend to assess the situation, advised that a Chan finals postponement was the best decision possible.
“Following the growing concern over the coronavirus and the report of the recently concluded medical inspection visit to the host country, the emergency committee decided to postpone the competition until further notice,” reads a Caf statement released last evening.
The statement said that although the situation is considered as being under control in Cameroon, “the crisis is not yet fully stabilised in Africa and it’s very difficult to predict its evolution in the next few days.”
The statement, signed by Caf acting General Secretary Abdel Bah, added: “The emergency committee also decided it was necessary to postpone the planned Executive Committee and 42nd General Assembly initially scheduled on the 24th April 2020 in Cameroon.”
Uganda are in Group C alongside Chan defending champions Morocco, Togo and Rwanda.
President Museveni is today expected to address the nation on the coronavirus pandemic and it is believed that he will announce some stringent precautionary measures against the virus that could further affect local sport actions.
Uefa now plans the European Championship to take place from June 11 to July 11 next year, turning Euro 2020 into Euro 2021.
The proposal was made as Uefa held crisis talks with its national associations as well as clubs and players bodies via videoconference yesterday. The proposal is likely to be ratified at a Uefa Executive Committee meeting in the afternoon.
Most of European leagues have been suspended over the last week as football confronts its biggest issue in modern times.
The Uefa Champions League and Europa League competitions for clubs have also been suspended, with both still in the last-16 stage, but postponing the European Championship for national sides means they, along with national leagues, will have the chance to be completed, assuming travel restrictions are lifted in time.
Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with France on Tuesday having joined Italy and Spain in applying strict lockdown measures and European leaders also planning to ban all non-essential travel into the continent.
More than 2,100 people have died in Italy, which was supposed to host the opening game of Euro 2020 in Rome. The head of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina, has been leading calls for the Euros to be postponed.
Euro 2020 was due to be held in 12 different cities across the continent, including Dublin, Bilbao, Saint Petersburg and Baku.
The semi-finals and final were due to be played in London and there would considerable knock-on effects to postponing the competition – the women’s European Championship is scheduled to run from July 7 to August 1 next year in England, with the final at Wembley.
Twenty of the 24 teams set to take part in the Euro have already qualified, but play-offs to determine the final four participants, due to be played later this month, will have to take place at a later date.
Financially, Uefa will undoubtedly prefer postponements to outright cancellations, or playing matches behind closed doors, even if it is impossible at this stage to know when club football can resume.
Major Sports Events
June 11 - July 11, 2021
Uefa Nations League
June - July, 2021
June 11 - July 11, 2021