The organizers of the Eurocup received guarantees from the Netherlands and Scotland on the plans to allow the access of spectators to the stadiums in June, after easing the restrictions due to the pandemic, but Spain and Ireland that this Wednesday (07.04.2021) did not offer the same guarantees.
Bilbao and Dublin, which must host Group E matches, risk being removed from the list of 12 venues across Europe following UEFA’s uncertainty about the return of fans.
Ireland and Spain made public on Wednesday their doubts about the possibility of welcoming spectators, a condition imposed by UEFA, which extended the deadline until April 28 for the host cities to establish their capacity to receive public.
UEFA aspires to matches with the public
The will of UEFA is to have an audience in all the venues of the Eurocup (June 11-July 11), postponed one year in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The reports from the cities had to be examined by UEFA, which had set April 19, the date of its next executive committee, to make final decisions and eventually relocate some matches.
Now the instance is taking longer, allowing cities “until April 28” to adjust the conditions, a spokesperson told AFP.
Ireland in lockdown
“The FAI (Irish Football Federation), following the advice and recommendations offered by the government, has informed UEFA that due to the covid pandemic, it is not in a position at this time to ensure the presence of a minimum number of spectators. in the Eurocopa “, indicated.
The Aviva Stadium in Dublin had to host three matches in Group E, as well as a round of 16.
Since the end of 2020, Ireland has been in its third lockdown and must begin to loosen the rules very progressively from Monday.
Spanish Federation sees it as “unfeasible”
Hours after the announcement of Ireland, the Royal Spanish Football Federation described as “unfeasible” that there are spectators in Bilbao during the European Championship due to the restrictions imposed by the Basque government.
“The requirement to have 60% of the population vaccinated in the Basque Country and the rest of Spain before June 14, or a figure that does not exceed 2% of the beds of the UCIS occupied by COVID by the date of the matches , they are impossible objectives to fulfill and will end, therefore, in the absence of public “, explained the RFEF.
UEFA raised the maximum capacity of the stadiums, to 30% since October, so that it is the local authorities that decide the limit, with a view to the European Championship.
The other venues access
Among the other venues, Romania announced on March 18 that its maximum capacity would be 25% of the public at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest. Denmark plans to have at least 11,000 spectators per matches in the four duels to be played in Copenhagen, although the government has warned that it will change this plan if the health situation deteriorates.
In Hungary the main sports daily, Nemzeti Sport, reported that Budapest aspires to have 50% viewers.
In Italy, the government has given the go-ahead for there to be spectators at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, where the inauguration is held on June 11.
Meanwhile, the English Federation (FA) wants Wembley to be able to host half of its maximum capacity (45,000) spectators in the semifinals, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson aims for the final to be played in a packed stadium.
With the data it will receive, UEFA will put the finishing touches on this unprecedented format adopted to celebrate 60 years of the tournament. The original venues are Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Munich, Rome and Saint Petersburg, with the semifinals and final in London.
Last week UEFA raised the maximum capacity of the stadiums, to 30% since October, so that it is the local authorities that decide the limit, with a view to the European Championship.
jc (afp, ap)