Football

UEFA stand firm on Euro 2020 decision that could impact fans attendance


European football’s governing body is unlikely to take up any offers from the UK to host the entire Euro 2020 tournament later this summer, the PA news agency understands.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has reportedly “signalled” to UEFA that crowds are expected back in UK stadiums before the rest of Europe. That is due to the nation’s excellent progress on coronavirus vaccinations.

Wembley Stadium is scheduled to host the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final in July. And the government is now ready to take on more games, according to the Times.

They are currently scheduled to be played across 12 different European cities. UEFA told PA it had nothing to add to a January statement.

That is when it reaffirmed its commitment to hosting the tournament across the 12 designated cities. And the governing body said last week that it would not be pursuing a similar offer from Israel.

They offered to help with hosting Euro 2020 matches and other European club competitions.

In response to Israel’s offer, UEFA said: “The Israeli FA did offer their facilities should UEFA need them this year.

“However, UEFA fully intends that all its events (including club finals and the EURO) will be staged in their intended venues and is working hard with its partners and stakeholders to secure that.”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Football Association declined to comment when approached by PA. Health secretary Matt Hancock was unaware of any offer to host the tournament.

He said on Sky News: “I haven’t seen anything on that, I understand that that’s not right.”

Waiting game for fans

Euro 2020, originally scheduled to take place last summer, was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was rescheduled for June 11-July 11 this year. UEFA confirmed in January that, despite concerns over coronavirus, the tournament set-up will remain the same.

The cities are London, Glasgow, Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Bilbao, Munich, Budapest, Baku, Rome and Bucharest. The competition is scheduled to start in Rome on June 11, with the final at Wembley on July 11.

Despite the positive news on Covid-19 cases around Europe, it remains highly unlikely fans will be able to attend. The best they can hope for is limited spectators, although problems of how to house those fans remains.

The infection rate will dip significantly during the summer after a successful vaccination programme. But no government wants to see a return to the shocking winter situation and caution will be the watchword.

 

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