The Scottish Premiership is in line to get the green light to bring its season to an end after Uefa indicated that cancelled leagues would be allowed to take part in European competition next season.
An extraordinary meeting of Uefa’s executive committee on Thursday will discuss guidelines on how to determine Champions League and Europa League places in the event of a truncated season. Uefa said on Tuesday that these guidelines would apply to “special cases”, with the Scottish top flight, alongside the Belgian and Dutch leagues, believed to be included in that definition. The Netherlands confirmed on Tuesday a three-month extension of the ban on major public events, meaning there will be no Dutch football played before 1 September.
Uefa’s stance is a softening in the position of the governing body. In a joint letter with the European Clubs Association and the European Leagues, Uefa told its members on 2 April that “every effort must be made” to complete domestic leagues and that they reserved the right to “assess the entitlement” of abandoned competitions to send clubs into European competitions next season.
Although Uefa maintains a “strong recommendation” that competitions should be completed, the threat of suspension from European competition is almost certain to be removed as the complexity of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow. Bizarrely Rangers, who are still in the current 2019-20 Europa League, look set to play games in it at the same time as the 2020-21 Scottish season which is hoping to kick off in early August.
The Scottish Professional Football League has decided to curtail competition in the country’s lower divisions, after a lengthy and controversial process. The SPFL also has the right to force cancellation on the top flight, but this measure was contentious while European qualification was uncertain.
In a statement, Uefa said: “There was a strong recommendation given to finish domestic top division and cup competitions, but some special cases will be heard once guidelines concerning participation to European competitions – in case of a cancelled league – have been developed.”
Thursday’s ExCo meeting is also expected to confirm that the Women’s European Championship, originally due to take place in England next year, will be played from 6-31 July 2022. The competition was postponed to make way for the rescheduled men’s tournament, Euro 2020, and the new dates mean some of it will overlap with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.