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UEFA suspends upcoming Champions League fixtures

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The unsurprising cancellations leave many clubs in limbo — not least of which, fresh quarterfinalists Atlético.

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Alejandro Rios/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Football around Europe has come to a standstill in light of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the continent — and indeed, the globe. LaLiga and all other major European leagues had suspended play by Friday morning, and the continent’s governing body UEFA announced that upcoming Champions League and Europa League fixtures will not go ahead as planned.

It seems likely Euro 2020 will be postponed early next week as well, when UEFA is set to offer more details on the future of its other competitions.

“As a consequence of the postponements, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League quarter-final draws scheduled for 20 March have also been postponed,” the statement read.

The sport’s calendar has been thrown into disarray but the coronavirus outbreak, and there is mass uncertainty regarding how top leagues and UEFA itself will proceed. It’s even been posited that league seasons could be ended, with no one positive when or even if games will resume.

All this is of particular pertinence to the four qualified Champions League quarterfinalists — Atalanta, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Atlético Madrid. The sole Spanish team in that quartet is currently out of LaLiga’s top four — and should the 2019/20 season be declared complete, Atlético would be participating in next season’s Europa League. In that case, the only way to ensure qualification to the 2020/21 Champions League (whenever it goes ahead) would be to win the European Cup in Istanbul on May 30.

But of course, the football schedule is completely out of whack as the virus continues to spread. Right now, it’s impossible to know what UEFA’s plans are or will be. We’ll find out more next week and update as news comes in.