1. Why has UEFA created Return to Play?
With governments having eased national lockdowns enforced to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, national associations across Europe have adapted to football’s ‘new normal’. Many resumed their domestic championships behind closed doors.
Consistent with our commitment to clubs and national associations to postpone the return of UEFA tournaments to allow the completion of their domestic seasons, our elite European competitions were pushed back to start in August.
UEFA’s Executive Committee announced revised formats, calendars and venues for almost all of our club and national team competitions, starting with the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Women’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League – all being played to a conclusion in August.
The Return to Play project will ensure that UEFA is ready deliver its club and national team competitions, at all levels, while protecting the health of everyone involved.
2. What is Return to Play working on?
Giving the ever-changing COVID-19 situation across Europe and the different stages of government responses, UEFA’s main challenge was to identify protocols and procedures that ensure its matches can take place with the same level of safety across all 55 national associations.
Each match/tournament has needed to take into account several variables:
• international travel;
• matches played behind closed doors;
• social distancing;
• hygiene measures;
• domestic rules
Return to Play is coordinating this work for all UEFA tournaments, covering a wide range of topics and issues: training, testing, organising, playing and officiating.
3. Where does Return to Play stand today?
On 17 June, UEFA’s Executive Committee confirmed the return of almost all its elite tournaments, announcing revised 2019/20 and 2020/21 schedules for both its club and national team competitions. Matches kicked-off again in August, with the planned completion of the 2019/20 editions of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Youth League and UEFA Women’s Champions League.
For now, all UEFA matches will take place behind closed doors. However, we will be regularly assessing the situation across European countries and liaising with local authorities to see when spectators could gradually return.
To protect the health of all participants on and off-the-field at our matches, the Executive Committee has also approved the key principles of a UEFA medical protocol. Detailed guidelines were drawn up to ensure that a thorough sanitary plan will be in place, wherever matches are played.
We also adapted our match day operational guidelines, both at club and national team level, so they are more tailored to football’s new reality.
4. Where can I follow the latest Return to Play news?
European football’s governing body worked hard behind the scenes to ensure everything was in place for the day that its elite tournaments returned.
Follow this page for a comprehensive overview of UEFA’s response to the COVID-19 virus, from decisions and dates to people and policies.