Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana has been suspended for 12 months by UEFA due to a doping violation, the Eredivisie club have confirmed.

Ajax and Onana will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the ban, imposed after an out-of-competition test in October 2020 found the substance Furosemide in the player's urine.

The club said the test result was due to Onana, 24, mistakenly taking Lasimac – a drug prescribed to his wife – when he felt unwell.

UEFA therefore accepted Onana "had no intention of cheating", an Ajax statement read.

It added: "However, UEFA believes, on the basis of the applicable anti-doping rules, that an athlete has a duty at all times to ensure that no banned substances enter the body."

The suspension is effective from Friday and applies to "all football activities, both national and international".

Ajax managing director Edwin van der Sar said: "We explicitly renounce performance-enhancing drugs, we obviously stand for a clean sport.

"This is a terrible setback, for Andre himself but certainly also for us as a club. Andre is a top goalkeeper, who has proven his worth for Ajax for years and is very popular with the fans.

"We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these 12 months, because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance."

Cameroon international Onana has been a key man for Ajax since his debut in 2016-17, playing his part in runs to the Europa League final and Champions League semi-finals.

His absence is the latest blow to Ajax, who earlier confirmed they would be unable to correct the administrative error that saw Sebastian Haller left out of their Europa League squad.

Haller, signed from West Ham for a club-record €22.5million last month, was not included in Ajax's initial list for European competition for the second half of the season.

Coach Erik ten Haag described the mistake as "an administrative error with major consequences" and "an incredible setback" for the player, although he confirmed Ajax would be addressing the matter with UEFA.

However, a further club statement has now confirmed UEFA sent "a final message" to say Haller could not be added to the group.

Haller has scored two goals in his first seven games for Ajax in all competitions.

UEFA is committed to its plan of hosting Euro 2020 across 12 host cities, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Euro 2020 was due to take place last year, with 12 nations having been selected to host matches in celebration of the competition's 60th anniversary.

However, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in UEFA taking the decision last March to push the tournament back to 2021.

Although Europe is still struggling to deal with the pandemic, with many nations under lockdown rules and travel severely restricted in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, UEFA has reaffirmed its intention for the competition to take place later this year.

In a statement released on Wednesday, UEFA also said it is retaining hope that the 12 venues will be able to accommodate some fans, despite club competitions continuing behind closed doors.

The statement read: "UEFA repeated its commitment to holding the Euro across the 12 cities according to the timetable that has already been published.

"All parties recognise the need for flexibility around decisions to be made on the arrangements for the tournament, in order to reflect the different challenges and circumstances that cities find themselves in. 

"As a result of that and the fast-changing nature of the situation around the pandemic, the deadline for the submission of plans to accommodate fans inside the stadiums has been moved to early April."

In limited numbers, spectators had been allowed into venues in certain European nations – including Germany, England and France – in 2020, though those schemes were ended as infection rates increased again.

"UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

"The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development. 

"I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July. 

"Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums."

London, Rome, Glasgow, Bilbao, Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Baku, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Munich are the designated host cities for the finals.

Each city will host three group games, and one match in either the round of 16 or quarter-finals, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley Stadium.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin could push for the delayed Euro 2020 finals to be staged in just one country, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Any such move would cause a drastic redrawing of plans for the tournament just months out from its start, with 12 cities across Europe preparing to stage games.

The logistical implications would be enormous, with the need to find suitable team bases a major issue, while finding agreement on which country might serve as sole host may not be straightforward.

UEFA took similar steps last season to ensure the Champions League and Europa League campaigns could finish without further delay, but a month-long European Championship is on a different scale to those club competitions.

Yet the COVID-19 crisis could mean there are obstacles to staging the event as originally planned, and that could trigger contingency measures.

Quoted by German publication TZ, Bayern Munich chief executive Rummenigge said: "You shouldn't forget that the idea of ​​this special hosting of the tournament came about when corona did not yet exist.

"At the time, it was an initiative of the EU Commission that wanted to have football shown all over Europe. But I know that the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – who is incredibly careful with corona – is thinking about whether it wouldn't make more sense in times of corona to play the tournament in just one country."

UEFA's expansion of the tournament to a 24-team event, starting from Euro 2016, means it is now close in scale to a World Cup, and the opening match is due to take place on June 11, with Italy and Turkey set to play in Rome.

Shifting the quarter-final stages of last season's club competitions to Lisbon and Germany meant they were able to be completed, with barely two months between decisions being taken and the games going ahead.

This is due to be the first time UEFA has held a European Championship in such a spread of venues. Ceferin referred to the Euros in December as "a tournament bridging the entire continent".

UEFA also said in November it intended to proceed with the tournament in its original format, albeit accepting that could change depending on circumstances.

It has since said decisions on how many supporters, if any, will be able to attend games, are set to be taken in March.

The semi-finals and final are scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium in London, with other games in Baku, Amsterdam, Rome, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Munich and Saint Petersburg.

FIFA has warned that any player competing in a European Super League would become ineligible to take part in World Cups, European Championships or the Champions League.

Amid speculation that the biggest clubs from the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are keen on forming a breakaway competition, football's world governing body has taken a strong stance against such ideas.

A joint statement from FIFA and the six continental federations read: "In light of recent media speculation about the creation of a closed European 'Super League' by some European clubs, FIFA and the six confederations (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) once again would like to reiterate and strongly emphasise that such a competition would not be recognised by either FIFA or the respective confederation.

"Any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation.

"As per the FIFA and confederation statutes, all competitions should be organised or recognised by the relevant body at their respective level, by FIFA at the global level and by the confederations at the continental level.

"In this respect, the confederations recognise the Club World Cup, in its current and new format, as the only worldwide club competition, while FIFA recognises the club competitions organised by the confederations as the only club continental competitions.

"The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiarity are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football's global success and are, as such, enshrined in the FIFA and confederation statutes.

"Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles. Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch."

It was reported in October that FIFA were hoping to create a closed 18-team tournament that would be dubbed the 'European Premier League'.

However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was "not interested" in the idea and felt the existing Club World Cup had greater potential.

Prior to his resignation as Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed at a news conference that he had accepted a proposal for the club to join the proposed European Super League.

Gareth Southgate fears England's top stars will be burnt out by the time the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament comes around next year.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been critical of the Premier League for their refusal to follow other European leagues and sanction the use of five substitutes.

This season's matches have been squeezed into a shorter timeframe due to the impact of the coronavirus, which delayed the completion of the 2019-20 season.

Speaking at a media conference following the draw for the World Cup qualifying groups for Qatar 2022, the England manager joined Klopp in expressing his fears over the workload placed on some players.

"I think all coaches are concerned about the number of matches," Southgate said.

"It's not one area in particular, it’s the overall volume. We're in a shortened season. No winter break, which was deemed to be a good idea last year.

"We've got the issue over the substitutions. We've known that. When the debate comes up, we were on to how difficult September would be as soon as the leagues restarted again.

"Everyone else came to that decision, a bit later. Jurgen will be like me, looking at what will March be like.

"For the top players in particular, they are the ones that play European, International and league football.

"What we’ve tried to affect, we lobbied UEFA for five substitutes. I know there are talks about the FA Cup going that route.

"I would think Jurgen would be frustrated because in Germany, they work so closely together. I see the logic in what they're saying.

"A compact season like this is always a concern, with what you will get at the end of it."

Southgate admitted it was challenge of his job to have a constructive dialogue with Premier League managers, who he acknowledged are under intense pressure, over the handling of players.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho recently questioned whether Southgate bowed to pressure from Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola when Raheem Sterling pulled out of England squad through injury.

Sterling then appeared in City's next match against Tottenham while Spurs had three players who all featured in games for England.

Southgate added: "We have the most intense competition at the top of our league.

"We have some very successful managers who have huge motivation, all of our clubs with huge motivation and responsibilities.

"Nearly all of our squad are playing in England, and our league is very different. It’s one of the additional situations as England manager you have to deal with.

"It's always important to have respectful relationships, but the reality is our objectives are different. They are the clubs' players, we have to respect that."

Northern Ireland have been consigned to relegation in the Nations League just hours before their clash against Romania on Wednesday.

The UEFA appeals body awarded Romania a 3-0 win over Norway after the Scandinavian side failed to fulfil the fixture on Sunday, following Omar Elabdellaoui testing positive for coronavirus.

Romania consequently moved six points clear of bottom side Northern Ireland prior to their meeting at Windsor Park in the final round of matches in Group B1.

The chairman of the UEFA appeals body decided: "To declare the 2020-21 Nations League match between Romania and Norway, that was scheduled to be played on 15 November 2020, as forfeited by the Norwegian Football Association [who is therefore deemed to have lost the match 3-0] for being responsible for the match not taking place."

With third-placed Romania now out of reach, Northern Ireland will spend the next Nations League campaign in League C.

Norway sent an entirely different team to Austria for Wednesday's match to decide who earns promotion to League A.

Under-21 coach Leif Gunnar Smerud was given the task of overseeing a Norway squad that included just one player who has featured in one of their previous games in the Group B campaign.

Ukraine's Nations League away match against Switzerland was called off on Tuesday after the visitors were put into quarantine by local health authorities due to a spate of COVID-19 cases.

The Group A4 match in Lucerne was in doubt from the moment Swiss regional health officials declared their decision regarding the Ukraine travelling party.

Three Ukraine players tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday and there were four further positives announced on Tuesday - affecting Ruslan Malinovskiy, Sergei Kryvtsov, Junior Moraes and a member of the coaching staff.

Kryvtsov and Moraes had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and had antibodies in their system that prevented reinfection, the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) said.

Ukraine press officer Oleksandr Hlyvynskyi said in a statement: "UEFA informed the Ukrainian Football Association that 'due to the competent decision of the Department of Health of the Canton of Lucerne to quarantine the entire delegation of the national team of Ukraine, the UEFA Nations League match Switzerland - Ukraine cannot take place'.

"Note that UEFA, UAF and the Swiss Football Association are ready for the match, but the ban [issued by] local authorities cancels all hopes of football organisations to hold the game.

"The decision on the future of the match will be made by UEFA."

The Swiss FA also confirmed the match would not go ahead, saying the Ukrainians could not produce a replacement team to contest the fixture.

Ukraine were sitting third in the group ahead of the final round of fixtures, with Switzerland winless from five games and bottom on three points.

Norway's Nations League clash with Romania on Sunday was also called off after Norwegian health authorities banned the team from travelling due to a positive coronavirus case.

Toni Kroos has accused FIFA and UEFA of treating footballers like "puppets" by creating new tournaments at club and international level.

Kroos will this week represent Germany in the Nations League, a competition formed two years ago with the aim of replacing friendly matches.

The Club World Cup has also recently been expanded and there is talk of a new European Super League being formed in the coming years.

However, Real Madrid midfielder Kroos is completely against the idea of cramming more fixtures into an already packed schedule.

"With the invention of all these new things we seem to be just the puppets of FIFA and UEFA," he said.

"These competitions are created to suck everything out of every single player physically and to suck out as much money as possible.

"When certain things work well it is a good idea to leave them that way."

Speaking on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast, which he hosts together with brother Felix, Kroos also took aim at fellow professionals who choreograph their goal celebrations.

Referencing celebrations by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has previously sported a Spiderman mask, and Antoine Griezmann, who simulates dance moves from video game Fortnite, Kroos said: "I find it very silly.

"Even worse is if there are any objects hidden in their socks. Aubameyang once celebrated and took out a mask. That's where it ends with me.

"I don't think that's a good role model, either. What nonsense."

Thorgan Hazard is unimpressed by the intense schedule players are facing in the 2020-21season ahead of Belgium's upcoming international triple-header.

The 27-year-old winger is in the Red Devils' squad for the friendly with Switzerland and Nations League matches against England and Denmark, all of which are in the next nine days.

Hazard has only played 135 minutes of Bundesliga football this season due to a ruptured thigh muscle ruling him out for around a month.

But the busy schedule of elite players – particularly those whose clubs have qualified for continental football – is not lost on him.

UEFA has received significant flak for its part in the increasingly busy calendar, as it opted to turn the October and November international breaks into three-match periods instead of sticking with the usual two games, a move it says was made to recover the dates postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's all too much, not just for me," Hazard told reporters on Monday. "Champions League, Bundesliga, Nations League…I don't want to complain too much because we have to do our job, but it is a lot.

"Well, here at the Red Devils, everyone will get playing time. The national coach has selected many players. Playing them in all three matches for 90 minutes would be difficult.

"The players will not burn themselves out. Our coaches also ask us to be careful, not to risk too much.

"We also play with Dortmund every three days. It is a difficult issue – the national coaches also have to do their job. If we don't feel well, let's just say so."

Belgium have already lost three players to injury on Monday, with Leandro Trossard, Alexis Saelemaekers and Hendrik van Crombrugge pulling out – only the latter has been replaced, with Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski called up.

Hazard's brother Eden was already ruled out having recently tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the Real Madrid winger will have gone more than a year without playing for Belgium by the time of his next cap.

"One year is indeed a long time," Thorgan Hazard said of his older brother's absence. "I hope this will be over soon. Both Belgium and Madrid miss Eden.

"He is one of the best players in the world and it is always better to have him in your squad. Madrid lost last weekend without him and the Red Devils were also defeated in England. We all need an Eden at 100 per cent.

"Nevertheless, he feels good. He is in good health and shows no symptoms [of COVID-19]. He is quarantined at home in Madrid and unfortunately he is not here.

"It was really a surprise for him, an unpleasant one. The injury was gone and then coronavirus was showing up. I really hope that next time there is not something again.

"He's really unlucky. These are another two weeks gone. What can he do about it? Nothing."

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is glad to have "completely cleared my name" after being acquitted by a Swiss court of inciting aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi had been charged in a case relating to beIN Media Group's allocation of television rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

The case also involved ex-FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, who was found guilty of forging documents relating to separate media rights and given a 120-day suspended prison sentence.

A statement from PSG chief Al-Khelaifi, who is also part of UEFA's executive committee, read: "Today's verdict is a total vindication.

"After a relentless four-year campaign against me that ignored the basic facts and the law at every turn, I have finally, fully and completely cleared my name.

"It restores my faith in the rule of law and in due process, after four years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears of my reputation - all of which have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated."

He added: "I can now devote all my energy to my various roles, which are all focused on building a positive future for world sport - at a time when the industry needs strong leadership the most."

 

Robert Lewandowski was the logical choice to win UEFA's Men's Player of the Year award - to give it to anyone else would have been a brave call.

How could a player who scored 55 goals in the 2019-20 season, including 15 in the Champions League, possibly be denied.

Fellow nominees Manuel Neuer and Kevin De Bruyne were also terrific last term, but this was a one-horse race.

UEFA duly got it right, rewarding Bayern Munich's Polish goal machine with a shiny trophy to sit alongside the medals he is stacking up at home.

WAS IT THE PERFECT SEASON?

Lionel Messi scored 58 goals from 57 games in Barcelona's treble-winning 2014-15 season, but Lewandowski's feat can sit comfortably in that company

The Bayern frontman netted his staggering haul from just 47 appearances, and it feels cruel that he cannot land a Ballon d'Or this year, with that award scrapped because of the pandemic.

Lewandowski would surely have walked off with that prized golden ball, after an exemplary year of leading the Bayern forward line that invited comparisons with the great Gerd Muller.

He is a shoo-in, surely, for the Best Men's Player prize at the FIFA awards, should that event go ahead.

In the Bundesliga, Lewandowski plundered 34 goals in 31 games, netting on average once every 81.24 minutes.

He was even deadlier in the Champions League, though.

TAKING EUROPE BY STORM

Bayern scored 43 goals in a Champions League campaign that culminated in their 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon, and Lewandowski netted a heroic 15 of those.

He scored in every game he played until the final of the competition, when Kingsley Coman was the unlikely match-winner.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker netted a goal every 59.13 minutes, Opta statistics show, and he had five assists into the bargain.

Only PSG's Angel Di Maria, with six, had more assists over the Champions League campaign.

There were abundant highlights in Lewandowski's season, but one was certainly his performance against Red Star Belgrade on November 26, when he scored four goals in a little over 14 second-half minutes as Bayern won 6-0 in the Serbian capital.

GOALS GALORE, GONGS GALORE

Apart from the Ballon d'Or being off the table, Lewandowski is getting his dues.

Already recognised as Germany's player of the year, the UEFA recognition lavishes a fresh accolade on a player who dazzled throughout an unforgettable 2019-20 campaign.

Recalling the moment of Bayern's Champions League triumph, Lewandowski said on Thursday: "That meant a lot."

He harked back to being in the Borussia Dortmund side seven years ago that lost to Bayern in the Champions League final, saying: "I was very disappointed and sad. I said to myself that I can never give up.

"This year we did it. It is something you dream of from being a young boy. Now I know this feeling and I'm very proud of all the team because what we did in the season was very special."

Bayern Munich added a major double to their famous treble as striker Robert Lewandowski and head coach Hansi Flick were honoured with UEFA's top individual awards on Thursday. 

Lewandowski scored 55 goals last season, including 15 in the Champions League, and he collected the UEFA Men's Player of the Year prize, while Flick was presented with the Men's Coach of the Year honour. 

Last season saw Bayern sweep the board with their Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League triumphs to seal a stunning treble. 

Former Germany assistant boss Flick took charge at Bayern in November after the team experienced a slow start to the season under predecessor Niko Kovac, and their results began to dramatically improve. 

The German giants have already scooped UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup victories in the early weeks of the new season, meaning they hold five significant trophies. 

Lewandowski, who fended off competition from fellow nominees Manuel Neuer and Kevin De Bruyne, said of his award: "I have to say it's an amazing feeling. 

"If you work so hard and you get this trophy it's something special."

The 32-year-old Poland international added: "I have to say thank you to my team-mates, my coaches and all the staff because they work very hard to prepare me, and also to my family because they support me a lot and that, for me, is very important. 

"When I was young, I always dreamed of playing in the big stadiums, at the big clubs in the world, and now I'm on this stage I have to say the dream has come true. I'm very proud, I'm very grateful and I'm very happy." 

The individual accolades are a welcome complement to the team successes, and they are flooding in at Bayern. 

Lewandowski won Germany's Footballer of the Year award in August after his remarkable campaign, with Flick named as the top coach in the country. 

Now they have fresh recognition from European football's governing body, the organisers of the Champions League, and it was a Bayern love-in at the UEFA ceremony. 

Neuer received the Goalkeeper of the Year trophy, the versatile Joshua Kimmich picked up the Defender of the Year honour and Lewandowski went home with the Striker of the Year prize alongside his main award. 

It was not quite a clean sweep by the Bavarians, however, with Manchester City's De Bruyne taking the Midfielder of the Year accolade. 

In the awards recognising achievement in the women's game, Lyon's Champions League-winning coach Jean-Luc Vasseur and former Wolfsburg forward Pernille Harder, who recently joined Chelsea, claimed the top honours. 

UEFA has expressed its delight at the smooth running of Thursday's Super Cup between Bayern Munich and Sevilla, as fans were welcomed back to a major European match for the first time since March.

Sporting events across the world have largely been played behind closed doors since the coronavirus pandemic initially brought most events to a halt six months ago.

As countries began to take control of the virus, various governing bodies around Europe started to plan for fans to return in reduced capacity, with France already allowing small numbers back.

Despite Thursday's Super Cup between Champions League winners Bayern and Europa League holders Sevilla coming as much of Europe began to re-tighten social restrictions ahead of a second wave of COVID-19, UEFA used the event in Budapest, Hungary as a 'pilot' for re-opening stadiums.

The 67,000-seater Puskas Arena had 15,500 people in attendance for Bayern's 2-1 extra-time win, with fans expected to maintain a five-foot distance from each other where possible and ordered to wear masks when moving around the stadium. UEFA also installed thermal cameras at entrances to check body temperatures.

UEFA believes the event ran according to plan with respect to the health and sanitary measures, and it plans to review the organisational aspects with Hungarian Football Federation.

"The match organisation went smoothly," a UEFA spokesperson said.

"Spectators accepted the precautionary measures and followed the sanitary guidelines and instructions provided by the stewards.

"UEFA will now thoroughly assess the various aspects of the organisation together with the Hungarian Football Federation and the local authorities.

"We were delighted to again feel a true football atmosphere and it once again demonstrates that the fans are the lifeblood of the game and that football is so great thanks to their passion and support."

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists football must "become more rational" due to the financial impact of coronavirus.

After an enforced two-month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bundesliga returned in May, with Europe's other top-five major leagues – with the exception of Ligue 1, which opted to cancel the remainder of its season – resuming in June.

Bayern have recorded eight straight league victories since the campaign restarted and wrapped up their eighth successive Bundesliga title last title last week, with Hansi Flick's side taking on Wolfsburg in their last match of the top-flight season on Saturday before they face Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal final.

Rummenigge believes the Bundesliga provided the perfect example of how to restart football safely behind closed doors, though he is expecting the European game – especially in relation to big-money transfers – to change drastically.

"Football has to try to become a bit more rational in order to be more stable for future crises," Rummenigge, who had previously revealed Bayern would be cautious with their transfer policy over coming seasons, told Handelsblatt.

"In the past 10 years, with this ever-higher-ever-further-ever-faster sums for player transfers and player salaries, football has shot a long way past the goal. 

"This can no longer be called rational. That filled every summer break. We have to find better solutions in Europe."

Rummenigge is not convinced, however, that the introduction of a salary cap would be a feasible option, instead preferring more stringent Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

"The legal requirements probably do not allow this [a salary cap]," he said.

"No, we need more rationality, and we have to develop FFP in Europe more rigorously with clear, key figures. Originally, it was always about not spending more money than is earned."

Rummenigge also added it was crucial to get football back up and running once the worst of the crisis was over.

"Football had no special position, but the Bundesliga was very disciplined," he said.

"There were some politicians who barely missed a chance to criticise the Bundesliga. It would be nice and decent if you could hear a turn now.

"Because as you can see, everything went well. Millions of fans in Germany are happy weekend after weekend that football can at least be seen on TV again. There were no problems. Many international leagues have followed the German example."

All 12 host cities for Euro 2020 will remain the same when the tournament takes place a year later than planned in 2021 due to the coronavirus crisis.

A meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee was held via videoconference on Wednesday.

After their deliberations, European football's governing body announced a host of decisions, including on how the Champions League and Europa League would be completed.

It was also confirmed the original 12 venues would host matches in the rescheduled Euros.

The meeting had been postponed in May after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said nine cities had affirmed their commitment to hosting, though there were issues with the remaining three.

But those concerns have been alleviated and, along with confirming the 12 venues, an updated match schedule was also approved.

The tournament will begin with a game between Italy and Turkey in Rome on June 11, 2021 with the final taking place a month later in London on July 11.

Baku, Copenhagen, Munich, Budapest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bucharest, St Petersburg, Glasgow and Bilbao are the other host cities.

"All existing tickets remain valid for the tournament in 2021," added a UEFA statement.

"Existing ticket buyers who nevertheless wish to return their ticket(s), will have a final opportunity to request a refund from June 18 to June 25.

"The Executive Committee expressed its appreciation to the host associations, cities and their authorities for their continuous support and commitment in organising the postponed Euro 2020."

Four spaces in the 24-team competition remain up for grabs as the play-offs are yet to take place.

The October and November international windows are to become triple-headers rather than double-headers, meaning those ties can be played on October 8 and November 12.

Meanwhile, a new season of Nations League action will begin on September 3, with group-stage matches taking place at regular intervals until November 18.

"UEFA took a bold decision when it decided to postpone Euro 2020," said Ceferin.

"But in doing so, we created the space which has allowed domestic club competitions across the continent to resume, where possible, and play to a conclusion. 

"While the game has suffered huge difficulties as a result of the pandemic, those blows would have landed much harder if we had not shown leadership in those early days."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.