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'We made the biggest sacrifice': UEFA president Ceferin says 'health number one priority' after Euro 2020 postponement

'We made the biggest sacrifice': UEFA president Ceferin says 'health number one priority' after Euro 2020 postponement
UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin insists the health of "fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority" as European football's governing body postponed Euro 2020 until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was announced on Tuesday following a UEFA meeting with its 55 member associations, the board of the European Club Association and the board of the European Leagues.

Originally, the tournament was scheduled to be held from June 12 to July 12, 2020 with matches played in a pan-continental format across 12 host cities in 12 different countries.

Also on rt.com UEFA Euro 2020 POSTPONED to 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic

However, due to the COVID19 outbreak, UEFA announced the tournament will be pushed back 12 months and will now take place in 2021 from June 11 to July 11.

In a statement released following the meeting, UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin insisted the health of "fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority" and that the organization were making "the biggest sacrifice".

“We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent," Ceferin said.

"It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.

“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, UEFA tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football.

"There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.

“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, UEFA led the process and made the biggest sacrifice."

There had been claims UEFA were set to demand a whopping £275 million ($336mn) in compensation due to the rearrangement. Ceferin was adamant UEFA would continue to fund the game's less developed areas to minimize damage.

"Moving EURO 2020 comes at a huge cost for UEFA but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected," the Slovenian said.

"Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.

Also on rt.com UEFA to demand hefty $336 MILLION in compensation to postpone EURO 2020 until 2021

"Football is an uplifting and powerful force in society. The thought of celebrating a pan-European festival of football in empty stadia, with deserted fan zones while the continent sits at home in isolation, is a joyless one and one we could not accept to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition."

The postponement could bring some good news for European football however; summer will now be free for Europe's domestic leagues to complete their seasons, if possible, after the continent's major leagues were suspended due to the outbreak.

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