All football coaching courses in Wales have been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak as the national team set-up waits for the expected confirmation that this summer’s European Championships have been postponed.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) have confirmed that all their courses – which are highly regarded and have been attended by some of the world’s highest profile players in the past, such as Thierry Henry – have been put on hold.
Former Everton and Australia star Tim Cahill is among the current intake of coaches on the Pro Licence course. Current players Ashley Williams, Joe Allen and Chris Gunter are doing the A Licence.
The move follows last week’s decision by the FAW to halt all domestic football at all levels due to the pandemic.
A statement from the governing body said: “In light of the recent decision from the FAW to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until 4 April 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this will also include all of our FAW Coach Education courses.
“We will continue to monitor all government and key stakeholder advice with the situation under constant review, with the priority being the health and well-being of all.
“In the meantime, we will endeavour to contact all of our Welsh football family who will be affected during this period.”
The move comes as UEFA is being urged to prioritise domestic football competitions in Europe, with pressure growing for the Euro finals – which Wales have qualified for – in June to be postponed.
— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) February 5, 2020
Top-flight football across the continent has ground to a halt as a result of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with most national and continental club competitions suspended or postponed until April 4.
Representatives of European clubs and leagues will join national federations on an emergency video-conference call with European football’s governing body UEFA tomorrow.
The 24-team Euro 2020 tournament, scheduled to be held in 12 countries from June 12-July 12, could be pushed back a year which would create a longer window for national leagues to finish their seasons.
It’s understood the meeting will hear demands that plans for the eventual resumption of play should focus on completing national leagues above concerns about the Champions League, Europa League and the Euro 2020 tournament.
The European Leagues body, which represents the national competitions, will be on the call and issued a statement last Friday saying: “It is most essential that domestic competitions can be completed this season, to limit the negative impact for the entire football ecosystem.
“This crisis is also causing very serious sporting and financial consequences to all parties involved in the game.
“We are ready to co-operate with UEFA and other stakeholders to find common solutions to all these issues in a constructive way, including the international club competitions and Euro 2020.”
The focus on completing domestic competitions reflects a concern that clubs throughout Europe will lose significant ticket and associated match-day revenue by not completing the season while still having to pay players’ salaries.
The biggest loss of revenue for clubs, however, will likely come from broadcasting.
A senior figure has told The Times that leagues could be in danger of breaching their broadcasting contracts if their seasons are incomplete, and broadcasters would have the option of not paying.
The Premier League has a lucrative deal of around £3 billion a year from overseas and domestic TV rights.
There is also the added complication that incomplete seasons would raise questions over qualification for next season’s Champions League and Europa League competitions, with eligible teams scheduled to begin qualifying matches from June 23.
Euro 2020 already faces the problem of the remaining qualifying play-offs for the tournament, with 16 nations battling for four places, which are scheduled for March 26 and 31. FIFA has recommended that all international games in that period be postponed.
Football’s world governing body has also said that the rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.
Several of the teams involved in those games have already asked for postponements and the matches would be not be viable without club co-operation.
UEFA is expected to take a decision during or before tomorrow’s meeting.