Coronavirus: 'No panic' over Euro 2020 preparations, says UEFA's Alexey Sorokin
Sorokin: "Right now, the situation with the Euros is stable. There are no changes to the tournament. So, we continue our preparation the way it's going"
By Bryan Swanson, Sky Sports News' Chief Reporter in Amsterdam
Last Updated: 17/03/20 1:25pm
There is "no panic" among UEFA chiefs over the possibility of Euro 2020 being affected by the coronavirus outbreak, says UEFA Executive Committee member Alexey Sorokin.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin led an Executive Committee meeting in Amsterdam on Monday, with top officials discussing various items including the impact of coronavirus on European sport and a potential trial for concussion substitutions.
As it stands, European football's governing body will make no changes to plans for March's international friendlies and play-offs for Euro 2020 - which Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland are scheduled to compete in.
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Sorokin, a member of UEFA's ExCo since 2017 and CEO of the organising structure for UEFA EURO 2020 in St Petersburg, is confident this summer's showpiece tournament will go ahead as planned despite the soaring number of coronavirus cases across Europe.
"The focus [of the meeting] was obviously not on coronavirus," Sorokin told Sky Sports News. "Right now, the situation with the Euros is stable.
"There are no changes to the tournament. So, we continue our preparation the way it's going. There's only a few months left and we're doing our best to receive as many fans as possible.
"The owner of the tournament is UEFA so I would leave it to UEFA to make all the necessary statements. It is our job to do our best to prepare our cities, and St Petersburg is one of them, to the best of their abilities and to give a warm welcome to all football lovers.
"I think we need to assess the situation as it develops."
Asked if there was sense of panic transpiring from the meeting on Monday, Sorokin said: "No - we don't sense any panic. None whatsoever."
UEFA maintains a watch-and-wait brief from the World Health Organisation and governments from member nations and says guidance or directives will come from them.
There is currently no impact on preparations for this summer's European Championships, which will be held across 12 countries including England - which will host the semi-finals and final at Wembley.
However, UEFA has told all non-essential operational staff not to travel for Tuesday's UEFA Congress and Nations League Draw in Amsterdam.
"UEFA takes the situation linked to the coronavirus very seriously," UEFA told Sky Sports News in a statement. "We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with the World Health Organisation and national authorities regarding Covid-19 and its development.
"UEFA is also monitoring decisions by local authorities that may have an impact on matches in its competitions. And we are in contact with all clubs in relation to this."
Greg Clarke, Football Association chairman and FIFA vice-president, says he still expects England's internationals against Italy and Denmark to go ahead at Wembley.
"We're planning on the basis that they will go ahead," Clarke told Sky Sports News. "If the government decides on a change of policy, of course we will adhere to that policy.
"Clarity soon is better, but the facts are changing so quickly, you can't penalise the government for not quite knowing what the situation will be like in a month. I understand the problem."
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he "wouldn't exclude anything" over the potential postponement of FIFA internationals but urged the footballing world to remain calm.
"We don't have to panic," Infantino told Sky Sports News. "I'm not personally worried, we have to look at it seriously. We don't have to overreact.
"I wouldn't exclude anything at this moment. I hope we never have to go in that direction. It will be difficult to make a global ban."
Similarly, Six Nations officials gathered for a world rugby meeting in Paris on Monday to discuss the rescheduling of Ireland vs Italy - which was postponed over coronavirus fears - and the implications for the rest of the tournament.