Amid the coronavirus pandemic that is currently crippling European countries and so as its top sporting events, defending European champions Portugal have announced that they will donate half of the qualifying prize money from the for the now-postponed Euro 2020 to give amateur clubs financial boost in times of global health crisis.
“In this spirit of camaraderie between professional and non-professional football, we have decided, as a team, to give up part of our Euro 2020 qualification prize money,” the national team said in a statement earlier this week. The virus has infected nearly 2 million people and killed over 100,000 worldwide. It also caused shut down of many countries resulted to halting sports calendar across the globe.
“We have also decided, because we have not forgotten our own paths and all those who have generously helped us to make progress in our careers, that these amounts will be added to the support fund already created by the FPF (Portuguese federation) aimed mainly at players from non-professional competition clubs,” the statement added.
Although there are no financial details mentioned in the statement, the Portuguese football federation said that the money would go towards a fund that it hopes will reach 4.7 million euros ($5.1 million) to help amateur clubs survive the crisis. Most European leagues have been halted indefinitely for more than a month now and clubs financial stability is in jeopardy due to the revenue drought.
Over the weekend, Sporting became the first of the country’s three major football clubs to announce a 40% salary defer. Last week, the federation decided to conclude the already-suspended amateur season with immediate effect, declaring the season null and void without champions, promotion or relegation. At the time of writing, Portugal has reported nearly 17,000 cases of the virus, with over 500 deaths.
“It is fundamental that the championships end because it would allow some sort of normality to be restored and we could prepare for next season knowing who has qualified for international competitions, who the champions are and who is relegated,” Pedro Proenca, president of the Portuguese league said in a statement last week..
Previously, Portugal stunned host nation France to clinch the title for Euro 2016. Now, the national team will have to wait another year to defend their title as Euro 2020 has been postponed by 12 months because of the pandemic. The most glorious 24-team European Championship, which was being held across Europe to mark UEFA’s 60th anniversary, will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021.
Held every four years, Euro 2020 is considered the most popular football tournament next to the World Cup in terms of international prestige. The European Championship generates around €2 billion for UEFA from sponsors and broadcasters. The economic situation in Europe and in the world will harm us as well,” UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said in an interviewlast month.