Euro 2020 host cities are ALL ready to allow some fans into stadiums
All 12 host cities at Euro 2020 have indicated to UEFA they will accommodate at least some fans at the tournament in the summer, ahead of a deadline to confirm numbers this week.
Cities had been warned by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin that they would lose their matches if they could not confirm supporters will be present by the April 7 deadline.
However, all of the venues are expected to confirm the attendance of supporters when they make their submissions on Wednesday, albeit with some offering to accommodate just 10% of the overall capacity of their stadiums.
Dublin’s Aviva Stadium could yet miss out on Euro 2020 games amid fears over fans attending
“We have several scenarios, but the one guarantee we can make is that the option of playing any Euro 2020 match in an empty stadium is off the table,’ Ceferin said last month.
“Every host must guarantee there will be fans at their games.”
Commitments of just 10% capacity may not be sufficient to satisfy Ceferin and UEFA.
A report in the Irish Times last week suggested the Irish government has been warned a threshold of 25% capacity may be required to hang on to its four fixtures.
And a spokesman for the Department of Sport in Ireland, told the Irish Sun that ‘the government… is not in a position at this point to provide assurances on minimum spectator levels’.
Delayed Euro 2020 tournament is due to be held in 12 cities across 12 different countries
Dublin is still believed to be the shakiest of the host cities.
The European governing body had hoped to make a decision on which of the 12 venues would be retained by the end of the week.
But UEFA is now braced for further delay in deciding whether any cities will be dropped from the tournament as it and governments across the continent wrestle with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is expected proceed on a city-by-city basis.
Government’s roadmap out of lockdown has created the chance of big crowds at Wembley
The matter will presumably have to be resolved by April 20, when UEFA’s Congress is due to meet and the formal decision on host cities is set to be taken.
UEFA needs to cities to confirm they can accommodate fans and then scale up the numbers as the pandemic eases, it it is possible to do so. It appears the numbers of fans can be increased until April 28.
But the uncertainties – and disparities between different cities – are huge.
While Dublin and the Irish government are very cautious, Russia is exceptionally confident.
There, the local organising committee for Euro 2020 has said it plans to tell UEFA it will allow 50% capacity in the 68,000-seat Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg.
Britain is well ahead of its European neighbours in vaccinating the country’s population
Alexei Sorokin, head of the committee, said UEFA will allow host cities to increase the planned attendance figures until April 28.
‘If there are significant improvements [in the epidemiological situation], we do not rule this out,’ he told the Russian Tass news agency.
The Gazprom Arena has already hosted 22,500 Zenit St Petersberg fans in recent weeks.
Copenhagen has also been bullish in their estimates and some cities, such as London, are confident of significant attendances.
Copenhagen has committed to up to 12,000 fans at the Parken stadium, which equates to 30% of the capacity for its four matches, unless there is a serious outbreak of coronavirus.
The Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg is ready to host large crouwds at Euro 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered to host every Euro 2020 game this summer
Wembley, which hosts seven matches, has reportedly told UEFA that it is hoping to accommodate 45,000 spectators – 50% of the 90,000 capacity – for the semi-finals and final.
As well as Ireland, there have been concerns over Glasgow, Bilbao and Baku, but all those cities now appear more committed to going ahead with fans, now.
The commitment to at least some fans allows the possibility that numbers could rise if final decisions on the host cities are put off for a few more weeks.
‘There are a lot of people doing their best, trying to make difficult decisions,’ said a source involved in the discussions. ‘Things are so fluid. If they ask the final question now, they might get a lower number, so they want to take decisions as late as possible. And they think they might get something more definite in the next fortnight.’
Delays cannot be open-ended since decisions must be taken on ticket allocations.
Managing a tournament across 12 countries, with different levels of Covid infection and vaccination rates, varying regulations and restrictions, and different levels of public support is exceptionally complex.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would be an ideal venue to host extra Euro 2020 games
But with respect to tickets, UEFA is helped by the fact that huge numbers have been sold, so rather than issuing new ones it is likely to be a matter of refunding existing ticket holders.
If Ireland is unable to satisfy UEFA’s requirements it is widely expected that those matches at the Aviva Stadium – involving Sweden, Slovakia and Poland as well as a second-round match – would be played in England, with the state-of-the-art Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a possible venue.
Shifting the matches would be a logistical challenge given the teams would need to be safely accommodated in hotels and training facilities and tickets would need to be reallocated.
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