UEFA acknowledged this Friday that it is “in discussion with local authorities to try to allow fans of the participating teams to attend the matches” of the last week of the tournament scheduled at Wembley. The Eurocup calendar foresees that the final (July 11), the two semifinals (July 6 and 7) and two round of 16 matches (June 26 and 29) will be played at the London stadium. For that to be possible, the British government, which on Monday delayed the de-escalation of measures against the pandemic for four weeks, should relax restrictions on people arriving in the country from abroad. Otherwise, according The Times, UEFA plans to move the final to Budapest, which next week opens its borders within the Schengen zone and allows the stadium to be filled to 100% capacity. UEFA has recognized this Friday that it already has an alternative: “There is always a contingency plan, but we trust that the last week can be played in London.”
According to the London newspaper, one of the thorniest points in the negotiation is the case of the 2,500 VIP guests that UEFA wants to be able to be in the final, between authorities, politicians and sponsor commitments. The Boris Johnson government fears the reaction of the local public to a concession to this group after it announced on Monday that it was delaying the lifting of some of the restrictions that affect the British for four weeks.
Current regulations require 10 days of quarantine (which can be shortened with an extra test) and three negative tests for people who arrive in the United Kingdom from countries considered amber (such as Spain) or red zone. The rule contemplates some exceptions related to high-level sporting events, such as the Eurocup, for people directly involved in the competition, such as athletes, or in their organization. These people can leave isolation to move to the venues where the event is taking place, but only for that.
Under current laws, only 11 countries and territories are included in the green list, exempt from quarantine, and none of them participate in sports competition. All European countries are on the so-called amber list, and Downing Street strongly recommends that you do not travel to them for tourist reasons. “We are talking to UEFA, to find out their specific requests, and we will see if it is possible to reach some sensible agreements,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We will do, in any case, what needs to be done to keep the country safe from covid-19. That is obviously our priority ”.
A few days before the start of the tournament, UEFA informed the accredited media that they could rely on what applies to this group, under the name of “auxiliary sports personnel”. According to the tournament organizer “this exemption allows the ‘bubble concept’, that is, travel between the hotel and all official UEFA EURO 2020 venues, such as Wembley Stadium.” But only to those places: the rest of the time the confinement must be maintained.
Now he intends to extend this route to the fans of the teams that compete in the semifinals and the final, in addition to the 2,500 VIPs invited to the last match, “using strict tests and the bubble concept that would mean that his stay in the United Kingdom would be of less than 24 hours and that their movements would be restricted only to approved transport and venues, “says UEFA in its statement on Friday.
At the moment, what they had already achieved is that for those last matches the capacity of Wembley was expanded, from the current 25% to 50% (the total capacity is 90,000 spectators). Now all spectators, and the press, are required to have a negative antigen test or a complete vaccination test, in the case of the British, and a negative antigen test or PCR for foreigners.
The Johnson government fears a negative reaction from British public opinion if it opens its hand with the VIPS of other countries. The tourism industry, and millions of citizens, have shown their irritation at the prohibition of planning, to date, any vacation to traditional destinations such as Spain, France, Italy or Greece. Downing Street has also announced this week that it is delaying the call for 28 days. Freedom day (Freedom Day). It was scheduled for June 21, and it was the date set to return to almost full normalcy throughout the country. The rate of infection by the new Indian variant of the virus, which now accounts for almost all cases in the United Kingdom, is doubling every ten days. Johnson has now set a target date of July 19, to take advantage of these four weeks and accelerate the rate of vaccination in the country. The goal is to ensure that 70% of the adult population (in a country of 66 million inhabitants) has received the complete immunization schedule.
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