Euro 2020 has been postponed until 2021 because of the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, made the decision at an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
The football tournament had been due to kick off in Rome, Italy, on June 12 and was to be played in 12 different host cities across the continent.
The 24-team European Championship, which was being held across Europe to mark UEFA’s 60th anniversary, will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.
“We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.
“It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism.”
Sixteen playoff matches were due to be held on March 26 and 31 to decide the full line-up of nations for the tournament. They will now be played in the international window at the start of June, subject to a review of the situation.
The host cities of Euro 2020, the first to be staged across the continent rather than hosted by a single or joint-host nations, were Glasgow, Dublin, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, St Petersburg, Bucharest, Budapest and Baku, with the climax set for London’s Wembley Stadium.
The majority of Europe’s top football leagues have been suspended because of the virus.
The cancellation of Euro 2020 means that European domestic leagues, postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak, are now free to complete their schedule as they wish.