Uefa has ‘contingency’ for Wembley games

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June 19, 2021
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    Wembley Stadium for England's Euro 2020 Group D fixture against CroatiaWembley hosted 22,500 fans – 25% of its capacity – for England's Group D fixture against Croatia

    Uefa says it is "confident" the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 will be held at Wembley but has a contingency plan amid concerns around England's coronavirus restrictions.

    The Times reported the games could be moved from London to Budapest if VIPs are not given an exemption to England's strict quarantine rules.

    The UK government postponed lifting all restrictions until 19 July.

    Most countries in Euro 2020 are on the government's amber or red list.

    Wembley's capacity is reduced to 22,500 for group fixtures at Euro 2020, but that is set to be expanded to 45,000 – around 50% of full capacity – for games in the knockout stages.

    The matches are being treated as fan pilot events and so are exempt from strict capacity limits. Across all Euro 2020 hosts, only Hungary's 67,000-capacity Puskas Arena will have full crowds.

    Last month, Uefa moved the Champions League final from Istanbul to Porto because of coronavirus restrictions impacting travel to and from Turkey.

    Uefa met with UK government officials and the Football Association to discuss the possibility of Wembley hosting the match between Chelsea and Manchester City but no agreement could be reached on quarantine exemptions for sponsors, VIPs and broadcasters.

    The government is in discussions with Uefa over plans around the safe and secure delivery of the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final but it is understood there have been no decisions made regarding exemptions.

    When asked about allowing fans into the country for the final week of the tournament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday: "We'll do what we have to do to keep the country safe from Covid – that's obviously going to be our priority, and we'll be talking to Uefa about what they want and see if we can make some sensible accommodations.

    "But the priority obviously has to be public health."

    Uefa has said it is in discussions with local authorities designed to allow visiting fans to utilise a travel bubble that would see their time spent in the UK reduced to fewer than 24 hours, with movement restricted to approved transport and venues.

    European football's governing body has requested "a number of broadcasters and commercial partners be allowed to attend the games, subject to the same restrictions as staff".

    "We understand the pressures that the government faces and hope to be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion of our discussions on the matter," Uefa said in a statement.

    "There is always a contingency plan but we are confident that the final week will be held in London."

    Dublin and Bilbao were originally host cities but missed out on staging games after being unable to guarantee spectator attendance.

    Bilbao was given a 1.3m euros settlementexternal-link for losing their matches.

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