EXCLUSIVE: Euro 2020 host cities ALL ready to allow fans into stadiums

EXCLUSIVE: Euro 2020 host cities ALL ready to allow fans into stadiums

EXCLUSIVE: Euro 2020 host cities are ALL ready to allow some fans into stadiums… but UEFA put back final decision on 12 venues with some grounds only able to offer 10% capacity, Dublin still at risk and Tottenham stadium on standby

  • 12 host cities have to confirm their plans for fans to UEFA by Wednesday April 7
  • European governing body had hoped to finalise the list of participating venues
  • Officials now braced for a delay as cities wrestle with the impact of pandemic
  • A delay on the final decision may allow some venues to increase capacities 

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 was required to hang on to its four fixtures.

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 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.

While certain cities, like Copenhagen and St Petersburg, have been bullish in their estimates and some, such as London, are confident of significant attendances, others are struggling to commit to anything above the bare minimum.

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, which has a capacity of 68,000 people, has already hosted 22,500 Zenit St Petersberg fans in recent weeks.

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 had been concerns over Glasgow, Bilbao and Baku, but all those cities now appear more committed to going ahead with fans.

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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