In Brief

29 August: new date for the Champions League final in Istanbul?

Uefa to discuss its two major club competitions next week

Uefa is striving to complete this season’s Champions League competition even if it means playing the final on 29 August.

Normally, the qualifying rounds of Europe’s showpiece tournament are well underway by late August but in the exceptional circumstances that the world now finds itself, Uefa is mulling the feasibility of staging the 2019-20 final at the start of the 2020-21 European football season.

According to BBC Sport, Istanbul will host the final (as was always the intention) with the Europa League final taking place in Gdansk on 26 August.

European football’s governing body is scheduled to hold a video conference on 23 April in which the idea will be discussed in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

With football unlikely to restart before June, Uefa is said to be keen to finish domestic leagues first before completing the Champions League and its sister tournament. 

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Two scenarios

BBC Sport says that two scenarios are under consideration. The first is to run the quarter-finals and semi-finals as two-legged matches in July and August, as normal, and the second is to condense the ties into one-off fixtures once the domestic seasons is finished, in effect staging a mini tournament in one week.

However, there remains the problem of what to do about the last-16 matches.

Four of the eight Champions League round of 16 ties were completed before football shutdown last month, but four - including Manchester City’s tie against Real Madrid - are incomplete.

Fixture headache

In the Europa League none of the last-16 second-leg ties are completed and two first-leg games are yet to be played. It has been suggested that those two matches could be decided on the toss of the coin but it is more complicated for the ties that are incomplete. 

Should Uefa decide that the winners of the first leg will go through to the quarter-final there could be legal ramifications from disgruntled clubs.

Today’s back pages

Premier League deadlock over pay and schedule, cricket’s in crisis and Toon deal to be finalised by May

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