It’s an important week for this summer’s European Championship, with host countries ready to submit their plans to UEFA for fans to be allowed into the stadiums.
Despite the continuing pandemic and an increase in infections in several European countries causing further lockdowns, countries hosting the Euros are hoping to have as many fans as possible in their stadiums for the matches.
So what is the situation as it stands? Which countries are planning supporters? And how much? Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson answers key questions …
Which countries have plans for fans?
There are 12 host cities and each association has been asked to inform UEFA no later than Wednesday 7 April of their intentions regarding the minimum number of supporters inside each stadium this summer. Some associations may require more time to do this, but time is running out.
Nine of the host countries participate in the competition; Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, Denmark, Scotland, England, Germany, Italy and Russia. But only Denmark, Russia and Italy have revealed details of their plans; have between thirty and fifty percent capacity.
The Italian government confirmed on Tuesday that fans will be in attendance, and Sky in Italy report that the Italian federation has given assurances to UEFA to safely host at least 25% of the 72,600 seats at Stadio Olimpico.
Wembley Stadium will host seven matches, including the semi-finals and the final, and the FA is encouraged that the government has given the go-ahead for test events featuring thousands of spectators ahead in a FA Cup semi-final on April 18, the Carabao Cup. final on April 25 and the FA Cup final on May 15.
Three host countries have failed to qualify for Euro 2020 – Azerbaijan, Romania and the Republic of Ireland – and Dublin appears to be the most vulnerable at this point.
Senior UEFA officials – members of its Executive Committee – have indicated their intention to vote on all decisions before the UEFA Congress on April 20.
What did the Irish government say?
They are unable to give a minimum number of supporters to the Aviva stadium in June.
Dublin is set to host four games – with Sweden, Slovakia and Poland – and a round of 16 game involving the group winners with England and Scotland.
But a statement from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media to Sky Sports News on April 6, said: “At its meeting last Tuesday, the government noted that due to the pandemic it was not able at this stage to provide assurances on the minimum number of spectators at the events. UEFA 2020 matches taking place in Dublin in June.
“The government also noted that officials will keep the matter under review and continue to work with UEFA on match planning, noting Ireland’s record over the past year in organizing the match. great field sports for spectators in the fields of football, GAA and rugby. “
Does Scotland sound more positive?
Yes, there have been more positive rumors from the Scottish government in recent weeks.
Like Dublin, Glasgow will host three group matches and one round of 16 match.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Sky Sports News that she hopes fans will attend matches at Hampden Park this summer.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Sturgeon added she was “desperate” for the matches to take place in Scotland and said she was “optimistic” that matches would take place with “a reasonably good number. voucher for spectators at Hampden “.
What does UEFA say?
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has said that there must be supporters in every game and that it is not an option for a game to be played behind closed doors.
UEFA is expected to provide further details later this week, no later than Friday, and Sky Sports News was informed that no association told them that it could not accommodate sympathizers.
But the biggest problem is the variation in numbers, with some associations only able to offer around 10% of stadium capacity, and if lower numbers will make running these games financially viable.
UEFA has not publicly disclosed the minimum number of supporters it expects in each match, but a figure of at least 25% has not been disputed by officials at their headquarters in Switzerland.
UEFA wants as many supporters as possible at its flagship tournament, provided it can be done safely.
Can anyone offer any guarantees?
No – and that’s where the problem lies.
UEFA is doing its best to plan for an already heavily disrupted competition, but the global pandemic has been unpredictable and has affected each country in different ways.
There will be a “ plan B ”, to respond to unexpected and late cancellations caused by a new spike in coronavirus cases on the eve of games, but no one has made their contingency plans public.
Those times remain uncertain, but, by the end of this week, we should be much clearer on how this summer’s competition will be sustained.