Sergio Ramos has won it all for Real Madrid and Spain.

From the World Cup to the Champions League, the Madrid and Spain captain has a full trophy cabinet.

As Ramos celebrates his 34th birthday on Monday, we look at what the former Sevilla defender has achieved since moving to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2005.

 

1 – Ramos helped Spain win their first World Cup in 2010. Playing as a right-back, with Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique the centre-back pairing – Ramos was crucial in Spain keeping five clean sheets in South Africa. It is his only World Cup title to date.

2 – Spain's most-capped player has two European Championship trophies to his name – Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. Ramos returned to the heart of Spain's defence for their title defence in 2012, partnering Puyol. Ramos also has a pair of Copa del Rey (2011 and 2014) successes.

4 – Not many can boast four Champions League winners' medals, but Ramos can. The face of Madrid, Ramos hoisted the coveted piece of silverware aloft in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Ramos forced extra time in the 2014 decider against Atletico Madrid as Madrid claimed 'La Decima'. He also scored in the 2016 final versus the same opponent, captaining Madrid to a remarkable three successive Champions League crowns. Just like Europe's premier club competition, Ramos has celebrated four LaLiga triumphs. He won titles under Fabio Capello (2007), Bernd Schuster (2008), Jose Mourinho (2012) and Zinedine Zidane (2017). He has also won as many Club World Cup (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018) and Supercopa de Espana (2008, 2012, 2017 and 2019-20) finals.

3 – Ramos and Madrid dominated the UEFA Super Cup between 2014 and 2017, winning the trophy three times. He scored in the 2016 final against former club Sevilla.

21 – The amount of trophies Ramos has won as a Madrid player. Paco Gento holds the record at the Bernabeu with 23.

170 – Ramos is the most-capped player in Spain history. He surpassed former Madrid and international team-mate Iker Casillas in October after earning his 168th cap.

640 – Since swapping Sevilla for Madrid, Ramos has appeared in almost 700 games for the capital club. He is fifth on the all-time list, behind leader Raul (741).

20 – Ramos holds the all-time record for most red cards in LaLiga. In total, the Spaniard has been sent off 26 times across all competitions. He has four dismissals in the Champions League – equalled for the competition's record.

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.

Tributes flowed on Thursday following news that former France coach Michel Hidalgo had died of natural causes, aged 87.

Hidalgo led France between 1976 to 1984 – hauling Les Bleus out of the international wilderness and to the glory of a maiden major honour at the 1984 European Championship.

France's run to the semi-finals of the 1982 World Cup established Hidalgo's swashbuckling side as a favourite of many neutrals, but he still needed a couple of tweaks to get the balance just right before expectant support on home soil two years later.

Ultimately he did just that, with a midfield quartet of Michel Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez sweeping all before them.

Here, we take a closer look at the Hidalgo's foursome that is affectionately remembered as France's Carre Magique – Magic Square.

LUIS FERNANDEZ

The final piece in the puzzle and an invaluable presence at the base of Hidalgo's sparkling midfield diamond, Spanish-born Fernandez did not make his France debut until after the 1982 World Cup run. After that, he only lined up as part of the famous quartet when England visited Paris for a friendly in February 1984. A Platini brace saw off Bobby Robson's men and Fernandez' superb positional sense and tough tackling instantly laid a foundation for flourishes such as Giresse's mazy run to set up the opening goal.

The Paris Saint-Germain maestro also passed with smooth precision, not to be outdone by the more celebrated creatives before him. The youngest corner of the square, Fernandez was 24 at the European Championship and is perhaps best remembered for dispatching the decisive penalty two years later that saw France progress to the World Cup semi-finals once more at Brazil's expense.

He was also around for the denouement and the ignominy of failing to qualify for major tournaments in 1988 and 1990, before being granted a swansong of sorts as part of the Platini-coached France squad at Euro 92.

ALAIN GIRESSE

By contrast to Fernandez, Giresse was an international veteran of 12 years when France's moment of truth arrived. A diminutive gem of a footballer, his goal had France on the brink of semi-final glory against West Germany in 1982 – establishing a 3-1 lead in extra-time before a heart-breaking collapse to penalty shoot-out defeat.

Giresse arrived at the European Championships in prime form, having just collected a Ligue 1 crown with Bordeaux that was retained the following season. He made 592 appearances for the Girondins before joining Marseille in 1986.

Platini's relentless foil, living up to his nickname of 'Moteur', Giresse got on the scoresheet alongside Fernandez in the 5-0 group-stage hammering of Belgium – with Platini netting a hat-trick.

In retirement, a nomadic coaching career has seen Giresse lead the national teams of Georgia, Gabon, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia.

JEAN TIGANA

Giresse was not alone in underpinning lavish talent with a phenomenal work-rate. Any opponent of Tigana knew they had been in a game – not least the bedraggled Portugal backline as his slaloming run set up Platini's last-gasp winner in extra time of the semi-final. The goal stands as arguably the defining moment of France's victory march.

His long-time alliance with Giresse at Bordeaux was a gift to Hidalgo in plotting his celebrated configuration and Tigana would make the same move to Marseille in 1989, adding two more Ligue 1 titles to the three he collected on the Garonne River.

A future coach of Monaco and Fulham, Tigana was indisputably among the best in the world and finished second in the 1984 Ballon d'Or voting. There was, of course, only one winner.

MICHEL PLATINI

The true beauty of the Carre Magique was how the winning blend of technique and tenacity allowed Platini to enjoy the fullest realisation of his incredible talents. Few players have stamped their mark so irresistibly over a major tournament as France's main man did in 1984, making light of with weightiest expectations.

His preposterous final numbers read nine goals in five appearances, after scoring in each game of the competition. Having settled opening nerves 12 minutes from time in a 1-0 win over Denmark, the Juventus superstar made merry by claiming the matchball in consecutive outings against Belgium and Yugoslavia. He stood tallest in his country's moment of need in the semi-final before an error from Luis Arconada allowed his free-kick to squirm home in the showpiece.

From poached efforts, to delicate chips, via thumping drives and diving headers, no type of goal was beyond Platini, who won three consecutive Ballons d'Or between 1983 and 1985. He was a phenomenon, rightly celebrated and deserving of icon status now somewhat at odds with his discredited post-career in football administration chicanery.

Michel Hidalgo, France's Euro 1984-winning coach, has died aged 87.

Hidalgo spent eight years in charge of Les Bleus after previously working as assistant, and he presided over their first ever major title success before stepping aside for Henri Michel.

Following Hidalgo's death, which was confirmed to France Info by his family, a post from the official Twitter account of the FIFA World Cup read: "France has lost one of its greatest figures.

"Michel Hidalgo was the brains behind the exhilarating side that reached the WorldCup semi-finals in 1982 and won Euro 1984. RIP and 'merci' for the memories, Michel."

France hosted Euro 1984, sailing through their group thanks to wins over Denmark, Belgium and Yugoslavia, before then seeing off Portugal in the semi-finals.

Second-half goals from Michel Platini and Bruno Bellone secured France a 2-0 win over Spain at the Parc des Princes in the final, as Les Bleus lifted a major international trophy for the first time.

Two years prior to that success, Hidalgo took France to the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they were beaten on penalties by West Germany after a 3-3 draw.

As a player Hidalgo represented Le Havre, Reims and Monaco, where he featured for nine years and also spent the early part of his coaching career.

Hidalgo's most recent job in top-level football was with Marseille, where he was a popular director of football for five years until 1991, going on to work as a pundit.

Eden Hazard believes it would only be fair to judge his time at Real Madrid at the end of next season.

The 29-year-old agreed a move to the Spanish capital last June after seven successful campaigns at Chelsea, during which time he won two Premier Leagues, a pair of Europa League titles and a PFA Players' Player of the Year award.

However, translating that success to his new club has proved challenging for Hazard, who scored only once across 10 LaLiga appearances before suffering an ankle injury last month that was likely to keep him out for the remainder of the season.

Hazard, who was sidelined between November and January with a similar problem, admitted it has hardly been a debut campaign to remember with Los Blancos, though he knows he has time to win the critics around.

"My first season in Madrid has been bad, but it's not all bad, it's a season of adaptation," he explained in an interview with RTBF.

"I'll be judged on my second season. It's a great group of players, I've met a lot of new people. It's been a great experience for me.

"I've still got four years left on my contract and I hope to be in form."

Though he only had the stitches in his ankle removed last week after undergoing surgery in Dallas, Hazard had expected to be available to represent Belgium at Euro 2020.

However, that tournament has been delayed for 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'd hoped to be fit [for the Euros] so it's a bit disappointing that they've been postponed," Hazard added.

"I'd planned to play, the operation was a few weeks ago now.

"We'll all be a year older in 2021, which is a shame, but it'll allow me to be in form.

"I think it's probably hard for the fans because they want to watch an international tournament every summer, so it's hard for them.

"But I also think that there are priorities in life that mean it had to be cancelled. Footballers are like everyone else at the end of the day. It'll wait until next year."

Italy coach Roberto Mancini was disappointed Euro 2020 had to be called off but described the recent scenes in his country as "a punch in the face".

UEFA made the decision to postpone the European Championship until 2021, while all other UEFA competitions and matches for clubs and national teams have been put on hold until further notice.

Mancini said he had been talking to players as part of his preparations for Italy's scheduled March friendlies against England and Germany.

But with the coronavirus hitting Italy particularly hard, he said his focus now is on helping those in need, with the death toll in Italy passing 4,800 on Saturday.

"In the past few weeks I called some of my players, especially those who are injured and ones in doubt," Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I worked on the friendlies with England and Germany and I started setting up Euro 2020.

"I must admit that I felt disappointed when it was announced [that it was cancelled].

"The film of that military convoy that took the coffins away from Bergamo was a punch in the face, the hardest and most striking image.

"No one was ready for this hell. To think that people are dying because there's a lack of beds and respirators.

"I never even thought about leaving Italy, because I feel safe here and our medics are doing heroic work. I want to feel close to those who are in difficulty.

"And I say that as a simple citizen, not as someone who has a symbolic role in Italy."

Mancini said he was heartened by the displays of solidarity among Italian citizens being widely shared on social media, where videos of communities spontaneously bursting into song from their balconies have become popular.

"I like it very much," said the former Manchester City head coach. "It's the most authentic Italy. It represents us.

"It is we who give our best in difficult circumstances, when we hug, help and put all our humanity into play.

"These people, after so much pain and fear, would have deserved the European Championship to get distracted and start again."

For Eduardo Camavinga, Ansu Fati, Phil Foden, Joshua Zirkzee and Youssoufa Moukoko, a delayed European Championship may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

It was confirmed this week that the 24-team tournament, which will be staged across the continent in a dozen countries, will be postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The likelihood is that several nations will have different starting line-ups in 2021 as new stars emerge.

We take a look at those uncapped youngsters who could now break into their country's team for the Euros.

 

EDUARDO CAMAVINGA

The central-midfield axis of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante was well established during France's run to glory at World Cup 2018, though, due to injury, neither man featured regularly in the Euro qualifiers as Didier Deschamps utilised Corentin Tolisso, a bit-part player for Bayern Munich, and Moussa Sissoko, who is about to turn 31.

Teenager Camavinga shot to prominence by dominating in a win over Paris Saint-Germain as a 16-year-old in August and he has been a regular for a Rennes side riding high in third in Ligue 1.

Already a France Under-21 international, Camavinga has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and, based on his current trajectory, it is easy to see him muscling his way into Deschamps' plans.

 

ANSU FATI

The youngest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League was granted Spanish citizenship in September and it appears only a matter of time before Fati is a senior La Roja international.

There were reports that the Barcelona forward, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, would have been included in the preliminary Spain squad for these March friendlies had they taken place.

However, there were no teenagers in the most recent Spain squad so, at 17, Fati can use the extra time to convince Luis Enrique he is a special case worthy of a regular spot in his XI.

PHIL FODEN

You have to be pretty decent if Pep Guardiola has called you "the most talented player" he has ever coached.

Despite that claim, there have been only fleeting glimpses of Foden in a Manchester City shirt, though regular playing time will surely be less of an issue for the 19-year-old once David Silva departs after the 2019-20 season.

His heir apparent Foden has already caught the eye for England Under-21s, and might have made the cut for Gareth Southgate's squad in 2020 anyway, but both club and country will have earmarked the classy midfielder for a breakthrough campaign next year.

JOSHUA ZIRKZEE

This enforced break could be considered both a blessing and a curse for Bayern Munich's young Dutch striker Zirkzee.

An injury to Robert Lewandowski had resulted in the 18-year-old starting Bayern's previous two Bundesliga games before the suspension and, having scored three times in 170 minutes already, he could have enhanced his reputation further in the coming weeks.

However, having only represented Netherlands at Under-19 level so far, Zirkzee still has a way to go to force his way into Ronald Koeman's senior XI for competitive fixtures. Another year of development will surely aid his case, particularly at a footballing behemoth like Bayern. 

YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO

A name that may be unfamiliar to many outside of Germany, though perhaps not for much longer given the ridiculous goalscoring record Borussia Dortmund's 15-year-old prodigy has.

Moukoko netted for the 34th time in his 20th Under-19 Bundesliga game earlier this month, setting a new record for the competition, having scored 50 in 28 appearances at U17 level last season.

An on-time Euros would have definitely come too soon for Moukoko but Lucien Favre wants the Germany youth international training with his first team soon. By this time next year, a man already on Joachim Low's radar may just be a long shot for Die Mannschaft's senior team too.

UEFA says no decision has been made over the name for the European Championship next year after earlier stating it would remain Euro 2020.

It was announced this week that the tournament has been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If the competition had gone ahead as scheduled, it would have marked the 60th anniversary of the European Championship and it appeared on Friday there would be no rebranding for that reason.

A reply on a frequently asked questions page on UEFA's website read: "We trust that all of our venues will remain the same, ensuring the tournament remains true to its original vision: staging a truly Europe-wide event that befits the EURO's 60th birthday. 

"The tournament will still be known as UEFA EURO 2020."

A tweet from the UEFA account also read: "Although it will provisionally take place from 11 June - 11 July 2021, #EURO2020 will still be known as UEFA EURO 2020."

The governing body later revealed those posts were wide of the mark.

A UEFA tweet said: "With apologies for the earlier error, to be clear no decision has yet been made on the name of the rearranged EURO to be held in 2021. The earlier tweet was sent by mistake."

UEFA has insisted Euro 2020 will not be rebranded despite having been provisionally suspended by 12 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was announced earlier this year the latest instalment of the tournament will be pushed back to 2021, with the competition set to take place between June 11 and July 11 next year.

Despite having to delay its flagship international event, UEFA still intends to retain the Euro 2020 name.

Holding the Euros this year would have marked the 60th anniversary of the European Championship.

A reply on a frequently asked questions page on UEFA's website read: "We trust that all of our venues will remain the same, ensuring the tournament remains true to its original vision: staging a truly Europe-wide event that befits the EURO's 60th birthday. 

"The tournament will still be known as UEFA EURO 2020."

The decision to postpone the Euros was taken in order to allow UEFA's member nations to complete their respective seasons, most of which have been suspended due to the spread of COVID-19.

UEFA added that is not yet able to say if its major club competition finals will still take place on their original dates and at their scheduled venues.

"It is too early to say. Our aim is to complete all European and domestic club competitions by the end of the current sporting season – 30 June 2020 – if the situation improves," read an answer to another question. 

"However, the health of all people involved in the game must first be guaranteed.

"The working group will assess different scenarios. We must wait for the outcome of its discussions as well as the evolution of the situation before reaching any conclusions."

UEFA was also unable to say how qualification for next year's club competitions may work amid the uncertainty, adding: "It is too early to answer this question and our objective is to ensure that all domestic competitions can be completed."

Gareth Southgate called medical staff fighting the coronavirus pandemic "heroes" as the England boss spoke about the pride he expects to feel when the postponed European Championship finally takes place.

Earlier this week it was confirmed by UEFA that Euro 2020, which had been scheduled to begin on June 12, had been pushed back a year due to the spread of COVID-19 and its chaotic impact on the sporting calendar.

It is hoped the suspension will ensure domestic seasons and continental cup competitions can resume and be completed in the window when the Euros were due to happen.

Southgate, whose team have seen friendlies against Italy and Denmark this month cancelled, has written a letter to England fans telling them not to "spend another moment thinking about the postponement" while paying tribute to those working to combat coronavirus.

"For everyone in our country, the primary focus of the present - and the coming months - is undoubtedly to look after our families, support our communities and work together to come through what it clearly the most extreme test that we've faced collectively in decades," Southgate said.

"On behalf of all the teams and staff, I would like to take this opportunity to send our sympathies to those who have lost loved ones already. Our thoughts are with you and with those who sadly will suffer similarly in the coming period."

He added: "We were due to play next week and to represent you all this summer, but now is clearly not the moment for us to take centre-stage.

"The heroes will be the men and women who continue working tirelessly in our hospitals and medical centres to look after our friends and families. They won't receive the individual acclaim, but we all know their importance is beyond anything we do on the pitch.

"When we play again as an England team, it will be a time when not only our country but the rest of the world as well is on the road to recovery. Hopefully we will be closer to each other than ever, and ready for the beautiful distraction that football can bring.

"To play in a European Championship next summer will still be possible for all of our squad and so we shouldn't spend another moment thinking about the postponement of the competition.

"I feel sure that, when that moment comes, I will never have been prouder to be the leader."

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.

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman said his Barcelona clause has been delayed until 2021 after the European Championship was postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Barca defender Koeman was in line to take over from Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked and replaced by Quique Setien in January.

Koeman previously revealed his Netherlands contract contains a clause that allows him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

With the Euros pushed back 12 months amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Dutchman Koeman addressed his contract.

"The clause in my contract to go to Barcelona is for after the European Championship," Koeman said via Marca.

"No date has been mentioned, so now it's after the European Championship in 2021.

"But I haven't thought about it for a second anyway."

UEFA confirmed the postponement of Euro 2020 on Tuesday, with the competition due to be staged across June and July in 2021.

All other UEFA competitions and matches for clubs and national teams have been put on hold until further notice. 

Netherlands were set to be without star Memphis Depay this year due to a knee injury but Koeman said: "It's a lucky break, but it's a shame that the European Championship won't be played now.

"We qualified at a good level, we were in good shape and we wanted to continue in this vein."

UEFA convened a conference call featuring its major stakeholders on Tuesday to map out European football's response to the coronavirus crisis.

The governing body's 55 member associations, the European Club Association, European Leagues and the international players' union Fifpro were all represented.

Rescheduling flagship tournaments such as Euro 2020, the Champions League and the Europa League were key matters to address, along with domestic scheduling concerns.

Here, we look at the key decisions taken and what the ramifications might be.


EURO 2020 BECOMES EURO 2021

European club football entered a continent-wide shutdown across its major leagues over the past week, making the completion of 2019-20 competitions on schedule a virtual impossibility.

These circumstances made moving the European Championship an obvious course of action and Euro 2020 has been put back 12 months to 2021, where it will occupy the same June-July timeslot.

The format for the competition remains, with teams and supporters set to travel across 12 host cities throughout Europe – an arrangement at odds with seeking to contain a pandemic - meaning the longer delay is certainly preferable to a mooted November scheduling in this regard.

Interestingly, UEFA intends to stage this month's postponed Euro 2020 qualification play-offs in the international window at the beginning of June this year. The different stages the virus has reached in different countries means all nations involved being safe to play in under three months is far from guaranteed, while there is likely to be stress placed upon club scheduling given Tuesday's other major decision.

 

A COMMITMENT TO COMPLETING 2019-20 SEASON BY JUNE 30

While pushing Euro 2020 back 12 months looks like the common-sense option, UEFA's announcement on club competitions appears fraught with potential difficulties.

The Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and the Bundelsliga are suspended until the start of April, with further delays expected, while Ligue 1 is on hiatus until further notice.

Even if prompt resumptions are secured, UEFA's ambitious target will come to loom quickly. Further high-profile matches behind closed doors appear likely and necessary.

The motivation of all involved is fairly clear, given a season stretching beyond June 30 is hugely problematic because that is the date when player contracts typically expire. Keeping the 2019-20 season in an indefinite state of limbo would also bring associated financial pressures and uncertainty for many clubs.

 

WOMEN'S EURO, EUROPEAN UNDER-21 CHAMPIONSHIP AND NATIONS LEAGUE TO MOVE

Euro 2020's move 12 months down the line meant it clashed with the Women's Euro 2021 in England.

This would have proved particularly problematic for the women's competition, given it was due to kick-off on July 7 – four days out from the newly scheduled European Championship final at Wembley.

But the tournament will be moved. UEFA has not decided where to in the calendar just yet and there will be similarly unspecified new dates for the European Under-21 Championship in Hungary and Slovenia and the 2021 Nations League Finals.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar not taking place until November and December of that year could prove handy here.

 

EXPANDED FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP ALSO PUSHED BACK

UEFA thanked FIFA for its understanding in allowing the rescheduling of Euro 2020, meaning a circumstantial detente between Aleksandr Ceferin and the man who preceded him as UEFA chief – FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

One source of friction between the most powerful continental federation and world football's government body has been Infantino's dubious masterplan of an expanded 24-team Club World Cup.

Despite little indication of European support – the ECA greeted the March 2019 unveiling by stating its members' intention to boycott - the tournament was due to launch in China in 2021. But no more. CONMEBOL moving in parallel with UEFA to stage the 2020 Copa America a year later means the nations intended to supply 14 of the clubs to Infantino's jamboree would be in international action.

In a statement, FIFA pledged to seek a new date for the Club World Cup, either later in 2021, 2022 or 2023. This unprecedented situation has brought the cordiality required but expect battle lines to be redrawn down the road.

FIFA is backing the decisions to move Euro 2020 and the Copa America to next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA and CONMEBOL announced on Tuesday that the tournaments will be postponed until 2021 to make it possible for the 2019-20 club seasons to be completed once local suspensions on league football have been lifted.

FIFA will convene a conference call with Council members on Wednesday where president Gianni Infantino will call for the revised Euro and Copa America dates to be accepted.

Members will also discuss plans to reschedule the revised 2021 Club World Cup, which is due to be held from June 17 until July 4 next year.

Infantino is also proposing FIFA contribute funds towards the global fight against COVID-19.

In a statement, he said he will encourage FIFA to ratify a direct $10million contribution to the World Health Organisation Solidarity Response Fund and establish a 'Global Football Assistance Fund' to "help members of the football community affected by this crisis".

FIFA will also consult with football stakeholders over any necessary changes to rules regarding transfers, so as to "protect contracts for both players and clubs".

He added: "It goes without saying that FIFA will keep in regular contact with all members of the football community during this difficult period. As I stated yesterday, challenging circumstances offer the opportunity for people to come together, show what they can do in a collective spirit, and emerge stronger and better prepared for the future.  And this is what FIFA is aiming to do here.

"The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed. Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time."

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has lauded UEFA's "wise and pragmatic" decision to postpone Euro 2020 by 12 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a video conference including all 55 member associations on Tuesday, UEFA confirmed its decision to suspend the upcoming Euros and set a new start date of June 11, 2021.

The postponement allows extra time for Europe's domestic seasons to conclude – if possible – after almost all leagues were put on hiatus to combat the spread of COVID-19.

In an FFF statement, Le Graet said: "The French Football Federation fully supports UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020 to 11 June 2021 and to adapt the formats for European competitions accordingly.

"The international matches planned for March, including the two matches of the French team from March 27 and 31 at the Stade de France, would therefore logically be postponed to June.

"This wise and pragmatic decision by UEFA makes it possible to fully register in the urgency and the priority of collective action to fight against the coronavirus, while allowing to consider ending the national professional and amateur championships which could be prolonged until June.

"All options will be studied in order to be reactive when resumption of activities is possible. The only concern of the FFF is to make the best decisions, by bringing together all the players in football, to best respect sports equity and limit the impact of this crisis.

"The world of football must be united, responsible and exemplary."

French football is suspended until further notice, with the Coupe de la Ligue – which was initially scheduled for April 4 – among the matches postponed.

COVID-19 was declared pandemic last week and has infected almost 189,000 people since its emergence in China late last year.

France has 6,633 confirmed cases of the virus.

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