UEFA’s decision to postpone the Euro’s and work towards a conclusion of the current season by the end of June was agreed unanimously by each of the 55 Nations that met by video conference yesterday to discuss the crisis.
While it may yet be that the timeframe of the latter comes to be seen as optimistic the 2021 date for the European Championships gives us a horizon. A detailed discussion with the different stakeholders from Dublin City Council to the Aviva Stadium and much wider will have to take place over time but in broad strokes, this is a decision that was inevitable and also right.
Reacting after the conclusion of the call yesterday FAI Interim CEO Gary Owens who represented the Republic of Ireland on the call alongside FAI President Gerry McAnaney, said: “UEFA has made the right decision today in the interests of the health and well-being of football players, fans and staff alike.”
“We support this decision and we look forward to working with all our stakeholders on reorganising UEFA Euro 2021 for Dublin next year. We would like to thank all our partners – the Government, Dublin City Council, Aviva Stadium and all the agencies and partners who have worked really well with us on the UEFA Euro 2020 project for the last few years.”
“We have agreed with these partners that we will now begin to plan together for the four UEFA EURO 2021 games here next year which will be the centenary year of the FAI.”
“The health of the community is of paramount importance to the FAI so we support this decision by UEFA today,” added McAnaney.
“The most important thing now is for football to work together during this pandemic. I appeal to our players, supporters and staff to look out for each other and to follow the HSE guidelines at all times.”
“Irish football will return and we have much to look forward to now in the coming months and in welcoming Europe to Dublin in our Centenary year of 2021.”
Government Ministers reacted within the hour with Shane Ross, still Minister until the formation of a new Government commenting “While this will be a disappointment to all those who have worked so hard in preparation for what was to be an historic occasion, it is the only sensible, responsible and reasonable decision considering the challenges we all currently face.”
“The safety and protection of those who work in soccer, who play and watch this wonderful game, is paramount and I fully support the decision made today. I applaud the football community for making a decision which will save lives and I look forward to the games when they are played next year.”
“For the safety of all, this decision was the right one to make and I thank UEFA for showing leadership in order to protect the health and well-being of everyone involved,” added Minister of State Brendan Griffin.
“This was not an easy choice to make but it was, without doubt, the right choice. I’d like to thank the FAI and all our stakeholders, in particular Dublin City Council and the Aviva Stadium, along with many Government Departments and Agencies, who have contributed so much to bringing the EUROs to Ireland and look forward to the FAI’s centenary year which will now be an extremely special one.