UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin is upbeat that confident football will soon return to normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and would bet a million dollars that the postponed Euro 2020 tournament will take place in 2021.
On Wednesday’s edition of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Ceferin said football has also stayed the same after previous challenges, however, lessons could be learnt from the health crisis which brought the game to a standstill in almost every country of the world.
Germany’s Bundesliga restarted at the weekend behind closed doors and other big leagues, as well as UEFA’s Europa and Champions Leagues, are to follow with the aim of completing the season by late summer.
That was made possible when UEFA postponed the Euro tournament by 12 months, and asked whether he would bet 1 million dollars that it would really take place next year, Cefering was very upbeat.
“Yes, I would, I don’t know why it wouldn’t be. I don’t think that this virus will last forever. I think it will change sooner than many think.
“We know more about the virus and in general I’m an optimistic person. I don’t like this apocalyptic view that we have to wait for the second and third waves or even a fifth wave.
“We are ready and we will follow the recommendations of the authorities but I’m absolutely sure, personally, that good old football with fans will come back very soon,’’ he told newsmen.
There has been talk whether football would still be the same after taking big financial hits during the lockdown period but Ceferin said while there are “always lessons to be learned” it has a bright future.
“I don’t think that anything will change forever. It’s a new experience and when we get rid of this bloody virus things will go back to normal.
“Football didn’t change after the second world war, or first world war, and it will not change because of a virus either,’’ Ceferin said.
He also confirmed that the third-tier continental competition, the so-called Europa Conference League, will start in 2021 to 22 in spite of the current crisis.
“We will do it, absolutely. We will not postpone it,’’ Ceferin said.