Euro 2020 delayed to 2021; Annoying, not surprising: Dutch coach
The European football championship, set to take place in June and July, has been delayed one full year. Three different matches in the early rounds of the Euro 2020 were to be played at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam.
European football association UEFA hosted a meeting on Tuesday to decide what to do about the upcoming tournament, as more countries ban large gatherings to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. "This decision was taken unanimously by UEFA and the 55 affiliated unions, including the KNVB," the Dutch football association said in a statement.
The Netherlands was one of 11 countries set to host matches in the tournament.
"It is of course a very annoying message, but we understand the choice which was been made," said Dutch football coach Ronald Koeman, saying people's health was of paramount importance. "Of course I would have preferred to play a European Championship this summer, but we have to be realistic and accept it," he said.
The Dutch men’s national team will be one of 24 teams taking part in the competition. It will be their first major tournament since the 2014 World Cup, when Oranje finished in third. The Dutch then failed to qualify for both Euro 2016 and the World Cup held two years later in Russia.
"In the coming period, we will consider how we can prepare for the moment when international football competitions restarts,” Koeman added.
Coronavirus was also expected to have an impact on the Women's European Championship, and the youth tournaments as well.