A long wait ends

The latest edition of UEFA Direct reports on how UEFA and Europe’s football stakeholders joined forces to plan and launch the game’s return across the continent in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

©UEFA.com

Read the Return to Play article in UEFA Direct 191

It’s time to ‘return to play’ for UEFA and its competitions after the long and difficult hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought European football to a sudden halt earlier this year and led to doubt and uncertainty about the game’s immediate future.

UEFA and key football stakeholders have worked together tirelessly since the spring to plan football’s return across Europe – the result for UEFA’s competitions is a unique match schedule to bring the 2019/20 campaign to a close and set the 2020/21 season in motion – starting in August with a feast of top-class action in the final stages of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League.

The journey to better days

The latest edition of the official UEFA magazine UEFA Direct focuses in considerable depth on the reaction and response of UEFA and the European football community to the pandemic.

A keynote article, available to read above, provides detailed background information on how UEFA, Europe’s national associations, clubs and leagues joined together at a crucial moment in March to start out on the long and tough journey to better days ahead – and how a spirit of solidarity, unity and compromise helped them arrive at a crucial moment for the beautiful game…the UEFA Executive Committee’s momentous decision on 17 June to sanction the August resumption of UEFA’s competitions.

The article addresses a number of key questions…

• Football’s wait: the preparation process

• Challenges: the search for solutions

• Minimising risks; safeguarding value

• The EURO factor

• Why neutral venues in August?

• With or without spectators?

• Protocols and provisions: keeping everyone safe and healthy

• How togetherness made a difference

…and ends with positive words from UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin on the way forward for European football amid these extraordinary times:

"The football community has worked together and shown tremendous unity during this unprecedented crisis… I am convinced that we will come out of this crisis stronger and with closer links than ever before.”