UEFA are giving serious thought to playing both the Champions League and Europa League exclusively in August to allow domestic football to finish beforehand.
While English football is still indefinitely postponed, leagues around Europe have made small steps towards a return to normality. Spanish sides have been permitted to return to training, while the Bundesliga has been tipped to return in May, but no plans are set in stone just yet.
Many of those involved in football have called for the domestic season to be finished by July 31 to allow players to have a break before the start of the next campaign, and according to BBC Sport, that’s exactly what UEFA want to see happen. Their latest talks revolved around such an idea, with European football returning after that.
UEFA did tell their 55 member associations that everything is still under consideration and both the Champions League and Europa League could be played throughout June, July and August, but it appears as though their focus is on playing the European competitions exclusively in August.
The belief is that travel restrictions around Europe will likely have been eased by then, allowing teams from all over the continent to meet and face off.
As of now, the plan is for the quarter-finals and semi-finals to be two-legged ties which take place between August 11 and August 22, although there is an acceptance that these may have to become one-legged ties if needed.
UEFA are keen to be flexible with their plans as a result of the varying number of games left to complete in different European countries. England have just nine rounds of fixtures remaining, but both Italy and Spain have 12 and 11 rounds respectively after being hit by the coronavirus outbreak earlier.
This proposal would allow domestic leagues to bleed over into August if needed – especially if the fixtures involved two teams who were not in European competition.
UEFA hope that the situation will become clearer in the next two weeks as countries around the continent begin to prepare for a return to normality.
The plan could still change, but it appears as though UEFA will push for this schedule as it will have the smallest-possible impact on the 2020/21 season.