UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, confirmed the delay of its flagship national team competition after holding an emergency video conference Tuesday involving major stakeholders.
The 24-team tournament was due to take place from June 12-July 12 this year at 12 venues across Europe, with Wembley stadium in London hosting the semi-finals and final.
Such a major event was an obvious risk for the spread of coronavirus, and will now take place from June 11 to July 11 next year.
The decision is a major blow to European broadcasters and rights holders. Euro 2020 was set to be a major event in the summer schedules, attracting strong audiences and commercial revenues from advertising.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: “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. 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.”
The move follows the suspension of football in all five of Europe’s top domestic leagues — England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany, along with the Champions League, Europa League and World Cup qualifiers.
Another summer tournament, the Copa America, has also been postponed for 12 months, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has said.
The 12-team tournament had originally been scheduled to take place from June 12 to July 12 in Argentina and Columbia.