This new UEFA guidance will concern Sunderland and League One promotion rivals
UEFA has opened the door to domestic league and cup competitions being cancelled ‘in special cases’ due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The national member associations of European football's governing body gathered for a conference call on Tuesday for an update on ‘a variety of calendar options’ to complete the 2019-20 season.
UEFA had previously warned that domestic leagues cancelling their seasons prematurely risked their clubs being excluded from its competitions in the future, but may now consider allowing curtailment of campaigns.
We reported earlier that Sunderland’s promotion hopes could hang in the balance with a growing number of League One and Two clubs in favour of ending the season now, with EFL talks ongoing with further meetings taking place this week over how to conclude the campaign – with a desire by the governing body to do so when safe.
However, a UEFA statement this afternoon – while acknowledging there was a ‘strong recommendation’ to finish seasons - also opened the door to domestic leagues being cancelled, which could have a knock-on affect down the league pyramid.
It read: "There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division and cup competitions, but some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions - in case of a cancelled league - have been developed.”
UEFA said any decisions on those guidelines would be announced after Thursday's meeting of its executive committee.
In England, Premier League clubs are still exploring scheduling models for how they could complete the season.
Failure to do so would prove very costly.
It has been reported that Sky Sports would not seek a rebate in the event of a curtailed campaign, but that would still leave the clubs owing a collective £370million.
The scenarios presented to the associations were all understood to culminate in the Champions League and Europa League taking place in August, with the final of the Champions League believed to be pencilled in for August 29.
All football has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis.