3 Possible ways to conclude the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League
- 3 possible ways to conclude to the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.
- Entailing the most optimistic and pessimistic of various plausible scenarios.
Like most other major sporting events around the globe, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the football season into chaos.
UEFA announced the postponement of its quadrennial Championships, the Euros, which was scheduled to take place in June and July 2020, to provide some much-needed breathing space for the various domestic leagues to run their full course, albeit with a belated ending by June so that the new season starts on time.
Of course, the governing body of European football has made the announcement considering the possibility of the worst of Covid-19 being over, and its various leagues and tournaments are able to resume action at the earliest.
European club football's premier competition, the UEFA Champions League, was midway through its Round of 16 fixtures when it was felt that the continuation of the competition, even without spectators, could endanger the health of players, officials, and volunteers after few club players and officials contracted the Covid-19 virus.
Due to the continued evolving situation on the Covid-19 front, there is no certainty about the remainder of the Champions League season at this present moment.
However, let us have a look at three possibilities UEFA could consider for the conclusion of the 2019-20 season of the Champions League:
#1: The usual conclusion with completed two-legged Round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a final
This is the most favourable outcome which would be suitable to all parties. The postponement of the 2020 Euros has allowed various domestic leagues and UEFA club tournaments some much-needed breathing space to follow their regular course.
For the UEFA Champions League in particular, this would first entail the completion of the four Round of 16 second leg fixtures, before announcing dates for the two-legged quarter-finals, two-legged semi-finals, and the final.
This process, if it sees the light of day, would be the best way to conclude the ongoing Champions League campaign.
#2: Nations League styled one-off semi-final and a final
This possibility would still require the Round of 16 and quarter-final fixtures being played over two legs before a one-off semi-final and a final in Istanbul, akin to the Nations League, brings this season's competition to a close.
However, with many countries across mainland Europe in lockdown mode with flight restrictions in place to avoid the further spread of Covid-19, it remains to be seen if this possibility sees the light of day.
The continued uncertainty about when the epidemic is likely to subside followed by the subsequent easing of travel restrictions in Turkey, which is slated to host this season's final in Istanbul, exacerbates an already complicated situation.
#3: No winner is crowned and the competition is suspended for the season
As harsh as it might sound for the clubs still in contention for this season's Champions League title, this could be the only plausible solution if action doesn't resume in two months' time.
If the games do not resume by May, clubs would be burdened by a massive fixture backlog if their respective league seasons re-start, and may not agree to play additional fixtures in any other competition.
Of course, there is little certainty about any football competition resuming any time soon owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought all major sporting action to a standstill.Published 18 Mar 2020, 21:16 IST