By News Desk
An executive member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Lars-Christer Olsson, has warned that the COVID-19 crisis could cripple the international soccer calendar for three years and jeopardise hosting plans for 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The novel coronavirus, which has infected over 3.13 million people globally causing more than 218,000 deaths, has wreaked havoc on the soccer schedule with Euro 2020 postponed to 2021 and national leagues and continental club competitions on hold.
Olsson, while expressing worries over the Qatar World Cup earlier scheduled to take place from Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022, said it was a case of “wait and see” if the quadrennial event would be hit.
Asked during a Soccerex webinar how long he thought the international calendar could be affected, Olsson said: “Probably two or three years I think.”
“If the virus is developing in an even more serious way as it’s been, for the time being, there will definitely be a problem with the international calendar.
“When some of the competitions are moved from one year to another…and then the Qatar World Cup is coming in the middle of the European season and you have to squeeze in domestic and international competitions.
“But I think we have to wait and see how that is going to affect the business.”
Olsson, who is also the president of European Leagues, said UEFA was planning to complete the Champions League and Europa League in August.
“If that would be possible, then I think it would be fine because that would also mean that we can safeguard the integrity of the final phase of the current season of international football,” he added.
“But of course we have to take a decision on that at the end of May at least, because otherwise, it will probably not be possible to squeeze it in and also to qualify the clubs for the new season.”