UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has admitted that postponing Euro 2020 was the only way to give European leagues the chance of completing their seasons.
Most domestic leagues around Europe have been halted as governments try and get best practice on how to deal with the global pandemic.
And Ceferin was keen to emphasise the importance of keeping players and fans “healthy” while also admitting that completing the regular season was priority.
Speaking on Sky Sports, the Uefa boss said: “We all know that this terrible virus that is all across Europe made football and all life in Europe quite impossible. We knew we had to stop the competitions.
“We think postponing the Euros was the only way to give a chance to all the national leagues and all the club competitions to finish their competitions.
“That is not sure for now but we should now think about the health of the fans and the players. We also have to think about football as a whole, the whole ecosystem of football.
“That is why we have decided today to postpone the Euros and we have full, 100 per cent support of all 55 national associations, the European leagues, the European Club Association and FIFPro.”
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Euro 2020 was due to start on June 12 in Rome and finish at Wembley exactly a month later.
But Uefa are now aiming to play the tournament from June 11 to July 11, 2021.
The delay will cost Uefa millions, but Ceferin was happy for his organisation to make the biggest “sacrifice” to help the grassroots of the game in each nation.
He added: “The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, Uefa tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football.
“There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result.
“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, Uefa led the process and made the biggest sacrifice.
“Moving Euro 2020 comes at a huge cost for Uefa but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected.
“Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.”
The Champions League final in Istanbul has also been moved from May 30 to June 27 and the Europa League final has also been shifted from May 27 to June 24, according to Spanish outlet Marca.
Uefa’s flagship international tournament was due to take place across 12 different cities to mark the 60th anniversary of the competition.
England were due to face Croatia, Czech Republic and the winner of a play-off – that could be Scotland – in their three group games at Wembley.