The 2019/20 Champions League is in limbo as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause major headaches for the sporting world.
Europe’s elite competition is midway through the Round of 16 but has now been halted amid the ongoing issues surrounding the virus.
With football at a standstill, UEFA are trying to work out how to finish off the campaign and when ties could be played.
Fans around Europe will have plenty of questions and here’s what we know so far…
How long is the Champions League suspended for?
The Round of 16 second leg ties on Tuesday, March 10 and Wednesday, March 11 were the last fixtures to be played.
Atletico Madrid, PSG, RB Leipzig and Atalanta all progressed while Liverpool and Tottenham were among the teams to be eliminated.
The other Round of 16 second legs were postponed on Sunday, March 15 with Chelsea and Manchester City among the sides with their ties still unfinished.
As those games could not be played to a conclusion, the draw for the quarter-finals has also been postponed.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AS IT STANDS
Last 16 second legs to be played:
Juventus vs Lyon (0-1 from first leg)
Man City vs Real Madrid (2-1 from first leg)
Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (3-0 from first leg)
Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1 from first leg)
When is the Champions League likely to resume?
All UEFA competitions, including the Champions League, have been indefinitely postponed and no new dates have been allocated.
At a conference on April 1, the national associations were presented with a variety of options for the resumption of domestic league action.
But no decision was made because it remains very difficult to predict how long the disruption will last.
In the event that the resumption of domestic football is severely delayed, it is thought it would take precedence over European competition.
UEFA said: “All national team matches for men and women due to be played in June 2020 are postponed until further notice. This includes the play-off matches for UEFA EURO 2020 and qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021.
“All other UEFA competition matches, including the centralised international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.”
The statement added: “The deadlines related to all 2020/21 UEFA club competitions are postponed until further notice, in particular as regards the admission process and the registration of players. UEFA will set new deadlines in due course.
Will the Champions League season be voided?
Like in the Premier League, the Champions League is eager to a reach a conclusion and could decide this season’s competition with a ‘final four’ knockout tournament hosted in a single city.
AS reported recently that UEFA are drawing up a plan to complete the tournament with the semi-finals and final of each competition being contested in a single city over a four-day period.
Istanbul is hosting the Champions League final and would be the city for the event.
Before that of course, the Round of 16 and quarter-final ties would need to be played out.
AS add that these knockout fixtures are likely to be played in a single game format, either at a neutral venue or a draw to give one side home advantage.
Reducing the final stages of the competitions would allow more time for domestic competitions to be completed.
This option has not been confirmed yet and the UEFA working group are expected to offer a fresh update in due course.
What about the Europa League?
Europe’s secondary competition, the Europa League, is in the same boat as the Champions League.
The round of 16 second-leg ties on Thursday, March 19 have been postponed while Sevilla vs Roma and Inter Milan vs Getafe have not even played their first-legs yet.
Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers are all involved in the Europa League but face long waits to resume the tournament.
The draw for the quarter-finals has been postponed while a ‘final four’ knockout tournament is also being talked about.
What have UEFA said?
In March, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin 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. 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. 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. Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.
“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.
“I would like to thank the European Club Association, the European Leagues and FIFPro Europe for their great work today and for their cooperation. I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart the 55 national associations, their Presidents and General Secretaries, and my colleagues from the Executive Committee for their support and wise decisions. The fine detail will be worked out in the coming weeks but the basic principles have been agreed and that is a major step forward. We have all shown that we are responsible leaders. We have demonstrated solidarity and unity. Purpose over profit. We’ve achieved this today.
“I would also like to thank Alejandro Dominguez and CONMEBOL, who have agreed to move CONMEBOL’s 2020 Copa America in order to follow the recommendations issued by the international public health organisations to enact extreme measures and as a result of EURO 2020 being postponed. This means that clubs and leagues in Europe will have as little disruption as possible in the availability of their players. These joint efforts and especially this coordinated and responsible decision, are deeply appreciated by the whole European football community.
“I would like to thank FIFA and its President, Gianni Infantino, who has indicated it will do whatever is required to make this new calendar work. In the face of this crisis, football has shown its best side with openness, solidarity and tolerance.”