UEFA is pondering over a revolutionary formula to complete European competitions. The plan is to have the Final Four format, where final four teams in the semifinals will play in two semifinal matches in a single match and in the final. The three matches would be organised in a single city, Istanbul, as the city was destined to host the traditional Champions League final on May 30.
The same plan would be applied for the Europa League, which would see four teams, hosted for “Final Four” in the Polish city of Gdansk.
UEFA are going for vote for deciding next course of action on Tuesday, at the meeting to be held by representatives of the 55 UEFA associations that will be consulted by videoconference. The organization’s secretary of competitions, Giorgio Marchetti, is in charge of presenting the plan, which appears to be the most feasible given that nobody knows at this time when the coronavirus crisis can be stopped.
UEFA, which has been widely criticized for its delay in suspending competitions, has already assumed that the governments of the different countries of the European Union are not willing to risk the outbreak of the disease. And that requires the prohibition of crowds, such as those that occur in stadiums.
The priority for UEFA at the moment is to close the round of 16 (Real Madrid must still play the return leg against Manchester and Barça against Naples because Atlético has already eliminated Liverpool) and from this moment proceed to quarterfinal draw. In that sense, it would be necessary to decide where those shocks are played. One option would be in a neutral stadium and another, in one of those involved in the crossing, but by lottery.
Thereafter, the Final Four formula would be chosen. It would allow concentrating the semifinals and the final of the Champions League and the Europa League in a period of only four days, which would open more gaps in the calendar to close the different league championships that have been postponed throughout Europe, and at the same time concentrate to hobbies in a single city, which would reduce the risk of more travel throughout the continent.
For the UEFA plan to go ahead, in addition to the favorable vote of its 55 federations, it will need the approval of FIFA, which should give up the dates of the Club World Cup to make room for Euro 2021.