The next UEFA executive committee meeting has been delayed until June 17 due to unresolved issues with proposed venues for next year's Euro 2020.

The meeting had initially been scheduled to take place on May 27.

Euro 2020 was due to get under way across 12 different locations in June but was pushed back by 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and St Petersburg were scheduled to host games.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told beIN SPORTS on Sunday that nine cities have affirmed their commitment to hosting matches in 2021, though there were issues with the remaining three.

"We've had conversations with nine cities and everything is set," said Ceferin.

"With three cities, we have some issues. So we will discuss further. In principle, we will do it in 12 cities but if not, we are ready to do it in 10, nine or eight."

In order to gain greater clarity on the circumstances surrounding host venues for the tournament, the executive committee will meet three weeks later than planned.

A UEFA statement released on Monday read: "UEFA today announced that the next meeting of its executive committee, originally scheduled for May 27, has been postponed to June 17, 2020, due to the existence of some remaining open points regarding a small number of proposed venues for the rearranged UEFA Euro 2020 next year."

Euro 2020 was delayed to create space for the completion of domestic leagues, the majority of which have been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Bundesliga returned behind closed doors last weekend, while Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A clubs have been permitted to return to group training – though some restrictions remain in place – this week.

Top flights in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland were ended prematurely.

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson trusts FIFA and UEFA to come up with appropriate plans over how to restart football following the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, FIFA proposed that teams will be allowed to use five substitutes per match due to a congested schedule when action resumes.

Teams are facing a fixture pile-up when they finally return and FIFA hopes to ease players' workloads by permitting an additional two changes during a match, or six substitutions in total if games go to extra time.

Competitions would have the option to implement the new temporary rule until the end of next season, while it would also apply to national team matches up to and including December 31, 2021.

Andersson is aware tournament organisers like the world governing body and UEFA, who have postponed Euro 2020 until next year, face a challenging task.

"It is not an easy job to fit in the games and tournaments that have been postponed due to the spread of the virus," Andersson told Stats Perform when asked about the five substitutions plan.

"I trust that FIFA and UEFA will find a good way to handle this.

"I am no medical expert and I don't like to speculate. Limiting the virus and the health of people is the most important thing right now. 

"My hope is that we can start playing football as soon as possible."

Sweden qualified for Euro 2020 by finishing second to Spain in Group F, with Andersson acknowledging his team could look very different by June 2021, the revised start time.

"A year is a very long time in football," he said. "A lot of the preparations can be used in 2021 but of course both our team and the teams we are playing can look different in a year. 

"It gives a bit of time to look even closer at details in tactics and we are trying to use this extra time in the best way possible."

On the impact of a busy fixture calendar leading up to the tournament, he added: "I trust that both the players and their clubs will adjust to whatever circumstances the season will be finished in."

Andersson, who took charge of Sweden in the aftermath of Euro 2016, is currently furloughed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: "I have worked in football for over 30 years. This is the longest break I have ever taken from the game that I love. 

"I am together with my colleagues working on how we can be even better to explain how we want our players to act on the pitch and prepare ourselves for the upcoming games this fall.

"I am no medical expert but I trust the Swedish authorities know what they are doing [with their approach to the lockdown]."

UEFA has paid out €70million of benefits in advance to clubs that released players for European Championship qualifiers and the Nations League.

Following a meeting of its executive committee on Thursday, UEFA announced payments that were scheduled to be made upon completion of the Euro play-offs – which were postponed in March amid the coronavirus pandemic – have been brought forward.

According to the governing body, 676 clubs from its 55 member associations will receive amounts ranging from €3,200 to €630,000 for allowing their players to participate.

The funds form a chunk of a €200m pot UEFA distributes to teams as part of the memorandum of understanding with the European Club Association (ECA).

The remaining €130m will be shared among clubs that release players for the European Championship, which was pushed back from June and July this year to 2021 as result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"European clubs are an integral part of the success of our national team competitions," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

"As a result, a share of our national team competition revenues is distributed to the clubs which release players for those matches.

"In these difficult times when many clubs are facing financial issues, especially with their cash flow, it was our duty to make sure that clubs receive these payments as quickly as possible."

ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli said: "This represents a much-needed liquidity injection into club finances and is a result of ECA's joint work with UEFA on safeguarding clubs at this time of existential threat.

"Whilst public health remains our primary concern, securing financial, legal and regulatory relief in advance of restarting football across Europe, once it is safe to do so, is of paramount importance to ECA and its members."

Michael O'Neill has permanently left his role as Northern Ireland manager with immediate effect.

O'Neill was appointed Stoke City boss in November but pulled double duty to see out Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

The 50-year-old was also due to oversee their play-off match against Bosnia-Herzegovina in March, with the winners then facing the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia, but the coronavirus pandemic saw that fixture postponed.

With UEFA suggesting at a teleconference on Tuesday the play-off games will be rescheduled for October, the decision has been taken for O'Neill – who was appointed in December 2011 – to leave now.

"After careful consideration and following discussions with the Irish FA, I feel it is only fair that now is the right time for me to step aside," he told the Irish Football Association's official website.

"I would have loved the opportunity to manage Northern Ireland in the Euro 2020 play-off game versus Bosnia-Herzegovina and the chance to qualify for another major tournament, but the current situation means that this is no longer possible.

"It was important to leave the association and team in the strongest possible shape in order to not only have the best chance of qualifying for Euro 2021, but allow the new manager time to build upon the success that we have had during my eight-year tenure."

Under O'Neill, Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2016 where they were beaten 1-0 by Wales in the last 16.

"It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to manage my country and I will treasure my time as manager of Northern Ireland forever," he added.

"Throughout my time here, I have been fortunate to have worked with many great coaching, medical and support staff who have all contributed to our successes and shared in some great moments.

"As for my players, past and present, I would like to thank them all for an overwhelming level of commitment and professionalism that has helped to deliver so many unforgettable highs and great experiences for us all."

The play-offs to determine the final spots for the European Championship are likely to take place in October and November, according to Football Association of Ireland (FAI) CEO Gary Owens.

The coronavirus pandemic led to the postponement of Euro 2020 for 12 months, with the play-off fixtures that were scheduled for March having also been called off.

With no confirmed date for when international football will return, it remains to be seen when those matches will be held.

The Republic of Ireland are among the teams waiting for official confirmation, with Slovakia their opponents and either Bosnia-Herzegovina or neighbours Northern Ireland awaiting the victors.

UEFA held an update with its member nations via teleconference on Tuesday, with FAI chief Owens offering an update on when the play-off games will go ahead after that meeting.

Owens told FAI TV: "There has been a slight move on that [play-off dates]. Originally, we thought it may well be November but it now looks like the semi-final is the preferred option in October.

"They don't want to have the semi-final and the final of the play-offs in the one month. It looks like the Nations League matches will be in September and October, with the semi-final play-off in October and the final play-off in November."

Earlier on Tuesday, UEFA announced it is to produce new guidelines outlining qualification criteria for its competitions from domestic leagues that cannot be completed.

However, the governing body once again recommended competitions should be finished if possible.

Stephen Kenny has replaced Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland manager, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced on Saturday.

The former Dundalk boss was primed to take the helm after Euro 2020, but the postponement of that tournament to next year amid the coronavirus pandemic has forced the FAI's hand.

Ireland face Slovakia in the play-offs for the continental competition, but that tie is also subject to an indefinite delay.

McCarthy, whose contract was due to expire on July 31, has therefore stepped aside early, with Under-21s boss Kenny officially taking on the role earlier than his previous start date of August 1.

"The Football Association of Ireland announces that Mick McCarthy is to be succeeded as national team manager by Stephen Kenny with immediate effect," read a statement from the governing body.

"The handover has been agreed with both men in light of the delay to the European Championship play-offs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Mick McCarthy's contract was due to expire on July 31 after the UEFA Euro 2020 finals, with Stephen initially scheduled to step up from his Under-21 team role on August 1.

"This move allows Stephen Kenny time to plan for the European Championship play-off semi-final against Slovakia later in the year."

UEFA has postponed all national team matches scheduled to be played under its auspices in June, including the play-offs for the delayed Euro 2020 finals.

European football's governing body held a video conference on Wednesday with representatives from all 55 member associations.

Those involved considered recommendations made by the working groups UEFA set up last month to address the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

After that meeting on March 17, it was confirmed Euro 2020 would be moved to June and July of next year, although play-off games were still slated to take place during the international break at the scheduled end of the 2019-20 season.

However, all UEFA matches are now postponed until further notice, while deadlines relating to the 2020-21 campaign for the organisation's club competitions are similarly on hold, with the prospect of football's shutdown going beyond the June 30 date where player contracts typically expire alluded to as a potential complication.

"The deadlines related to all 2020-21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and the registration of players," a press release read. “UEFA will set new deadlines in due course."

At the initial meeting, UEFA made a commitment to try and complete all European and domestic club competitions by the end of June – a prospect that appears increasingly fanciful as leagues across the continent remain suspended with little sign of a resumption.

UEFA has also stated it will relax Financial Fair Play and club licensing measures related to its 2020-21 competitions as clubs deal with unprecedented times.

"The Executive Committee reiterated its full commitment to club licensing and Financial Fair Play and agreed that the current exceptional circumstances necessitate some specific interventions to facilitate the work of member associations and clubs," the statement read.

"It supports the proposal to give member associations more time to complete the club licensing process, until the admission process for next season’s UEFA club competitions has been redefined.

"As a result of the increasing uncertainty generated by the ongoing extraordinary events, the executive committee also decided to suspend the club licensing provisions that relate to the preparation and assessment of clubs' future financial information. This decision applies exclusively for participation in the 2020-21 UEFA club competitions."

Additionally, UEFA cancelled its European Under-17 Championship and European Women's Under-19 Championship, scheduled for May and July respectively.

The corresponding European Under-19 Championship and European Women's Under-17 Championship are postponed with the aim of rearranging, given they double up as qualifying competitions for FIFA's U-20 World Cup and U-17 Women's World Cup.

Next month's UEFA Futsal Championship League finals have also been postponed until further notice.

Cristiano Ronaldo would have hoped to have scored his 100th Portugal goal against Belgium on Friday.

The Juventus superstar is on 99 international strikes and is set to become just the second male player to reach a century, quickly closing on Ali Daei's record tally of 109 for Iran.

But amid the coronavirus pandemic, Portugal's March internationals have been cancelled.

Ronaldo will have to wait until later in the year at the earliest to bring up another career landmark, unable to take on either Belgium or Croatia.

There are plenty of highlights from his previous 99 Portugal goals, though, and we have selected five of the best.


Denmark v Portugal (October 11, 2011)

Ronaldo could have his own wing in the Hall of Fame for free-kicks and this effort would be at home among them.

Portugal were trailing 2-0 in the Euro 2012 qualifier with the match in injury time, but Ronaldo enjoyed a moment to remember by smashing home an unstoppable 30-yard effort from the left into the far corner with power and dip – a simply glorious strike.


Armenia v Portugal (June 13, 2015)

Nearly three years on and again in a European Championship qualifier, Ronaldo played a star turn as Portugal won a thriller 3-2 in Armenia.

Having already levelled from the penalty spot and put his side ahead with an impudent finish, Ronaldo celebrated his hat-trick by taking a beautiful touch from a dropping ball, turning sharply and lashing into the top-right corner from 25 yards.


Hungary v Portugal (June 22, 2016)

A year later, Portugal fell behind to Hungary in Lyon during Euro 2016 three times and it was Ronaldo who dragged his team level on the second occasion with a display of fine skill.

The captain added a deft flick with his trailing leg to Joao Mario's right-wing cross to make it 2-2, and he cancelled out Balazs Dzsudzsak's second with a double of his own. It was enough to send Portugal into the knockout stages, and from there, they claimed a maiden international title.


Portugal v Spain (June 15, 2018)

Having twice given his side the lead, Ronaldo found Portugal 3-2 down to their Iberian neighbours in their thrilling opener at the 2018 World Cup.

The was a sense of inevitability when he stood over an 88th-minute free-kick, though, and the execution was sheer perfection as he left David de Gea with no chance.


Portugal v Switzerland (June 5, 2019)

Another game, another Ronaldo hat-trick – this time at last year's inaugural Nations League Finals. It was again a trademark free-kick that got the Ronaldo ball rolling, and he swept home a second to restore Portugal's lead. 

But Ronaldo saved the best for the last in the final minute of normal time, picking up the ball wide on the left, adding a couple of trademark silky step overs, jinking inside the defender and rifling home into the bottom-right corner.

FIFA has set up a working group to look at the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the transfer of players.

With the majority of leagues across the globe suspended due to the proliferation of COVID-19, UEFA decided to postpone Euro 2020 by a year and CONMEBOL pushed back the Copa America until 2021.

The 2019-20 season could consequently continue into the opening of the transfer window, which for most European countries will be in June, and see players required beyond the expiration of their contracts.

Following a conference call on Wednesday, the bureau of the FIFA council announced amendments to its regulations on transfers will be looked into.

The FIFA-Confederations working group will be responsible for "assessing the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players to protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods". It will also look at issues relating to the competition calendar and whether a potential support fund should be established.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "This exceptional situation requires exceptional measures and decisions. This crisis impacts the entire world and that is why solutions need to take into account the interests of all stakeholders around the world.

"We have shown again today a spirit of co-operation, solidarity and unity. These must be our key drivers moving forward and I would like to thank all the confederations' presidents for their positive contributions and efforts.

"FIFA will keep in close contact with all stakeholders to assess and take the necessary steps to deal with the variety of issues we are facing. I count on the support of the whole football community moving forward."

It was also announced the European Championship and Copa America were granted slots from June 11 until July 11 in the 2021 international match calendar, with a new date for the revamped Club World Cup to be selected at a later stage.

In addition, FIFA ratified a $10million donation to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Clubs will not be forced to release their players for international duty in March and April amid the coronavirus crisis, with FIFA recommending fixture postponements.

Football has largely come to a standstill worldwide as associations attempt to combat the spread of a virus that has already led to over 5,000 deaths.

The Champions League and Europa League have notably been suspended, along with each of Europe's top five leagues.

Fixtures in MLS, the Scottish Premiership and the English Football League are also all off.

The Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga have paused play until after the scheduled upcoming international break, while the Ligue 1 season has been postponed until further notice.

International football now appears unlikely to continue, too, as clubs - usually powerless to prevent call-ups – have received permission to keep their players following a FIFA Council decision.

FIFA will not impose the postponement of all forthcoming fixtures but is encouraging such measures.

A statement read: "FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

"To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public.

"The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies."

World Cup qualifiers in Asia and South America have already been pushed back, along with the cancellation of some international friendlies.

UEFA is yet to call off the Euro 2020 play-offs set for the coming weeks, although the tournament's existing schedule appears to be in doubt ahead of a meeting next Tuesday.

Bosnia-Herzegovina have called on UEFA to postpone their Euro 2020 play-off against Northern Ireland because of coronavirus worries.

The Football Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (NFSBIH) has written to European football's governing body to outline its case for the March 26 game in Zenica to be called off.

It has told UEFA the spread of coronavirus in Bosnia-Herzegovina is becoming more serious, resulting in public events being banned, with entry to the country barred to citizens of countries including Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

Bosnians and Herzegovinians returning to their homeland from such countries face a 14-day quarantine period and self-isolation if they come from areas where COVID-19 has been detected.

With their squad spread across large parts of western Europe, the Bosnia-Herzegovina national team would be depleted.

"NFSBIH is asking once again that all the risks be considered that would arise in the event of this match," said the federation on its website.

On Wednesday, the NFSBIH said it had been told the Euro 2020 play-offs would not be postponed "due to the impossibility of setting new dates in the competition calendar".

The tournament is due to begin in June, with the March 26 play-off semi-finals involving 16 teams due to be followed by play-off finals five days later.

Bosnia-Herzegovina has cancelled all youth football in the country and said professional league matches will be played behind closed doors.

Bosnia-Herzegovina have called on UEFA to postpone their Euro 2020 play-off against Northern Ireland because of coronavirus worries.

The Football Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (NFSBIH) has written to European football's governing body to outline its case for the March 26 game in Zenica to be called off.

It has told UEFA the spread of coronavirus in Bosnia-Herzegovina is becoming more serious, resulting in public events being banned, with entry to the country barred to citizens of countries including Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

Bosnians and Herzegovinians returning to their homeland from such countries face a 14-day quarantine period and self-isolation if they come from areas where COVID-19 has been detected.

With their squad spread across large parts of western Europe, the Bosnia-Herzegovina national team would be depleted.

"NFSBIH is asking once again that all the risks be considered that would arise in the event of this match," said the federation on its website.

On Wednesday, the NFSBIH said it had been told the Euro 2020 play-offs would not be postponed "due to the impossibility of setting new dates in the competition calendar".

The tournament is due to begin in June, with the March 26 play-off semi-finals involving 16 teams due to be followed by play-off finals five days later.

Bosnia-Herzegovina has cancelled all youth football in the country and said professional league matches will be played behind closed doors.

Billy Gilmour said it would be "amazing to be called up" for Scotland after the teenage midfielder impressed in his first Premier League start for Chelsea.

Having played a starring role in the Blues' FA Cup triumph over Liverpool in midweek, Gilmour kept his place for Sunday's 4-0 thrashing of Carlo Ancelotti's Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The 18-year-old completed 92.5 per cent of his passes and also created a chance from a deep-lying role, justifying Frank Lampard's faith in him with Jorginho suspended.

A second successive eye-catching outing could lead to Gilmour being part of Scotland's squad for the Euro 2020 play-off against Israel later this month, though the player himself is not getting too carried away by such talk.

"It's a bit mad, to be fair," Gilmour told Sky Sports.

"It would be amazing to be called up, but I just need to keep working hard here and doing my best. Hopefully, I get that opportunity soon."

Mason Mount and Pedro scored in the first half against the Toffees, with Willian and Olivier Giroud adding further goals for the hosts after the break.

As well as embracing the opportunity to make his first top-flight start, Gilmour was pleased to help Chelsea maintain their push for a top-four finish.

"It was amazing, a dream come true to make my debut in the Premier League," he said.

"Most of all, though, [it's about] getting the three points so we carry on winning. Hopefully we can continue that on the way forward.

"Today was a tough game. Liverpool was a good game and I played well. But you can only go into the next game and do exactly the same; work your hardest, play well and do your best for the team."

Team-mate Giroud praised Gilmour's mature display, telling Sky Sports: "He's done very well again.

"For a young player, he's got a great maturity and he also listens to advice. He's got a nice future in front of him, if he stays like that."

Luka Jovic will return to the Serbia squad for their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Norway in March after a "misunderstanding" was resolved, the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) announced on Monday.

The Real Madrid striker was released from international duty in September citing an injury, only to then feature for his club in LaLiga four days later.

Serbia head coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic was reportedly irked, and Jovic has not played for his country since.

However, with a key clash against Norway coming up on March 26, FSS sporting director Vladimir Matijasevic and Tumbakovic have held meetings with Jovic to get one of their star men back on board.

"First FSS sporting director Matijasevic and then coach Tumbakovic have had a meeting with Serbian national team player Luka Jovic over the past few days, after which it is clear the Real Madrid striker is absolutely ready to be available in March matches," the FSS posted on its Twitter page.

"On both sides, everything that needed to be said was said, the misunderstanding was resolved and, most importantly, the conclusion was that everyone agreed that Serbia's interest was above all.

"Qualification for the European Championship was a common goal."

Jovic netted in a qualifying win against Lithuania in June but has scored only once in LaLiga since his €60million move from Eintracht Frankfurt to Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Gareth Southgate would be "disappointed" if he was not linked to Premier League vacancies but the England boss still has objectives he wants to achieve with the Three Lions.

England reached a first World Cup semi-final since Italia '90 at last year's tournament in Russia, while they also made the last four of the inaugural Nations League.

Southgate then oversaw England's qualification for Euro 2020 and his side are among the favourites for European Championship glory.

In a question and answer session with Sky Sports, Southgate – who was in the past linked with the Manchester United job - was asked if a return to Premier League management is of interest.

For now, though, Southgate's immediate focus remains on the Three Lions.

"I am completely fulfilled in the role, it's a privilege to be the manager of England. Sometimes in life we are always looking at what's coming next and not relishing how fortunate we are to be in the position that we are in," he said.

"I feel like our team can still get better, there are objectives that we still want to achieve. In the future? I know realistically that I'm not going to be England manager in 10 years' time - I hope to be in six months' time. 

"Somewhere in between that, there is going to be something else. I'd be disappointed if I wasn't linked with some of those jobs if I'm honest. 

"I don't worry about it because my phone has not been ringing. I think that is because people know that I am committed to the job that I am in."

Being national team manager throws up plenty of challenges and Southgate had to deal with an internal bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez during the last international break, with the duo having clashed in Manchester City's defeat to Liverpool prior to the squad meeting up.

Southgate opted to drop Sterling for the clash against Montenegro before restoring the City forward for their final Euro 2020 qualifier with Kosovo.

The decision to publicly confirm Sterling was dropped drew criticism in some quarters but Southgate feels the squad is more united for having dealt with the incident as a group.

"I think there are situations as a leader, where whatever decision you make will be criticised. There are some situations where there isn't a perfect solution and you all have to just work things out as a group," he added.

"Time needs to pass. I have to make a decision that is right for the team first and foremost, and also support both of the players. There are so many people involved in a situation like that - everybody is going to have an opinion. Those that have managed or coached before understand the complexities of any situation like that.

"The most important thing is the team and the performance of the team. We were able to focus internally on the football very quickly and we got the results we needed and both boys got back on the pitch.

"They definitely came closer together and Raheem's message when Joe got an adverse reaction at Wembley was a really powerful one. I think that bought some closure on the episode.

"We are dealing with young men who are going to be emotional at times. Part of the strength of some of our players is that edge that they have. Through that adversity we are stronger for it."

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