FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a protective face mask walks past the Euro 2020 countdown clock in central Saint Petersburg, Russia March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov/File Photo
A person wearing a protective face mask walks past the Euro 2020 countdown clock in central Saint Petersburg, Russia. Image Credit: Reuters

Copenhagen, Nyon: The postponement of soccer’s Euro2020 Championship may already have been decided after Uefa last week cancelled its hotel bookings in Copenhagen, one of the host cities, it is learnt from the hotels on Tuesday.

The CPH Hotel said over the phone that Uefa had booked 80 of its 102 rooms but cancelled them a little over a week ago. The Marienlyst Strandhotel, where the Danish team usually bases itself, said in an email that UEFA had cancelled the rooms booked on behalf of the Danish side.

UEFA is meeting with its member federations on Tuesday, where a postponement of Euro 2020 to 2021 is expected to be announced following the widespread suspension of Europe’s domestic leagues due to the coronavirus.

The tournament was due to be held across 12 nations in June and July, with the semi-finals and final in London. Copenhagen was due to host three group games, all involving Denmark, and one knockout match in the round of 16.

The Marienlyst Strandhotel in Helsingor has been the base of the Danish team for many years and is situated on the sound between Denmark and Sweden, some 47km north of Copenhagen.

Helsingor - or Elsinore as it is sometimes called in English - is the scene of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The sleepy village has become the place that the Danish team goes to avoid distractions, with a training pitch a short walk away.

The Uefa executive committee will make decisions after hosting back-to-back video conference calls on Tuesday - first with club soccer officials and then with Europe’s 55 national federations.

The freeze on games has put broadcasting deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars on hold and could lead to the 2019-20 season being annulled in some competitions.

Uefa’s first call is with leaders of the European Club Association and European Leagues groups, plus the FIFPro players’ union.

Completing domestic league seasons would allow titles to be awarded and decide entries for the next Champions League and Europa League. The first qualifying games are already scheduled for late June.

If resuming the season is possible, Uefa’s options to complete this season include playing the quarterfinals and semifinals as single games instead of over two legs where each team has a home match.

The Champions League final is scheduled for May 30 in Istanbul, but the Turkish city could also be asked host the semifinals in a mini-tournament.

Sixteen of UEFA’s members are involved in the Euro 2020 playoffs, which were scheduled to be played on March 26 and 31. They will decide the last four entries in the 24-nation final tournament.

Postponing Euro 2020, likely for one year, would also create a backlog of national team games in a packed calendar managed by Fifa.

The June 2021 slot is currently occupied by the Uefa Nations League final tournament of four teams, plus the start of Fifa’s inaugural 24-team Club World Cup. It is due to be hosted in China and feature eight European clubs but no broadcasting or sponsor deals have yet been announced.

Qualifying games for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are also scheduled for June 2021 in most European countries. There is currently no space in the calendar to reschedule all those games, and a reduced qualifying programme will likely be considered.

However, any cuts in national team matches will impact member federations’ revenue and centralised broadcasting deals managed by Uefa.