Thursday April 23 2020
UEFA: 'Sporting merit essential'

UEFA’s guidelines urge domestic leagues to complete their season, either regularly or with a “different format,” but eligibility for Champions and Europa League should be decided “on sporting merit.”

The statement was released after three days of various videoconference meetings between the 55 member states.

“As a result of representations made by the football authorities in Belgium and Scotland, the Committee recognises the issues raised and approved the Guidelines on eligibility principles for 2020/21 UEFA club competitions. The Guidelines reflect the principle that admission to UEFA club competitions is always based on sporting merit.

Therefore, UEFA urges National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion. However, UEFA stresses that the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public at large must remain the primary concern at this time.

The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format. Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.”

If the tournaments were to be halted early, then the individual National Associations would “select clubs for the UEFA club competitions 2020/21 based on sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions.”

In the case of Serie A, that would mean using the table as it stands at the moment of suspension.

That would put Juventus, Lazio, Inter and Atalanta in the Champions League, Roma and Napoli in the Europa League.

UEFA are also still discussing the two possible variations on how to continue, as one scenario has the domestic campaigns finishing by August 3 so that the Champions League and Europa League fixtures can be played in August.

Another is to have the competitions run parallel.

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