Without a commitment to have a public in the stadiums, no possibility of hosting Euro football matches. The ultimatum issued in mid-March by UEFA, the body that rules football in Europe, was very clear: its president, Aleksander Ceferin, said he did not want to “Empty stands” for the competition which will take place from June 11 to July 11 and must, theoretically, be played in twelve countries. It is up to the various host countries to present, no later than Wednesday April 7, their sanitary devices allowing the stadiums to be partially or totally filled.
If Romania had announced, on March 18, that it was counting on a gauge of at least 25% of the public at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest, the Dutch Federation said on Wednesday that Amsterdam hopes to welcome “At least 12,000 spectators” during the four matches scheduled at the Arena Johan-Cruyff, or more “Depending on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The day before, the city of Munich had assured that“It is quite conceivable and desirable that spectators can be accommodated”, while the Italian government had given the green light to the presence of spectators at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, where four matches must take place, including three for the national team (Turkey opening, then Switzerland and Wales).
Sanitary conditions required beforehand
The municipality of Munich, which has built several hypotheses, however specified that “The scenario finally adopted will depend on the pandemic situation in June and July”. Munich are due to host three matches from the German squad (against France on June 15, Portugal on June 19 and Hungary on June 23), as well as a quarter-final.
On the Italian side too, the effective presence of the public is still conditional on the establishment of a protocol by the technical and scientific committee which advises the government. According to the Italian Football Federation, the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, asked the experts to define solutions that could allow “A form of public participation compatible with the epidemiological context”.
Denmark plans to host at least 11,000 spectators per game for the four meetings scheduled in Copenhagen, although the government reserves the right to tighten the screw if the health situation deteriorates.
In addition, according to the Spanish press, the Spanish Football Federation was to send a document during the day of Wednesday to UEFA, presenting the conditions of reception of the public up to 25% of the capacity of reception of the San Mamés stadium in Bilbao, which corresponds to around 13,000 people. “These 13,000 spectators will be able to enter the stadium as long as perfect sanitary conditions are reached, circumstances which, today, are not met”, however specifies the daily Marca.
During the day, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) issued a statement saying that it “ considers it impractical for there to be spectators in Bilbao due to the sanitary conditions set by the Basque government “.
The sanitary conditions required would be in particular an incidence rate over fourteen days of less than 40 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an immunity of the population of the Basque Country and Spain which exceeds 60%, an occupancy rate of intensive care beds. less than 2% in the autonomous region of the Basque Country and traceability of Covid-19 cases in the Basque Country greater than 90%. “Objectives impossible to achieve and will therefore lead to the absence of the public”, underlined the RFEF.
New deadline “until April 28”
Ireland, through a press release from its National Federation, also declared that it could not guarantee the presence of the public at this stage. She said she had “Today notified to UEFA, on the advice of the government, that due to the health situation, it is not currently in a position to guarantee a minimum number of spectators for Euro 2020”.
Ireland pledged to keep UEFA informed of any developments on this issue through the local organizing committee, in which the government is represented, but also stressed that “Public health problems” were the most important question.
In March, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would be ready to host more matches than those already planned at Wembley – including the semi-finals and the final – and Glasgow. According to the press, the English federation is counting on a half-full Wembley (45,000) for the semi-finals, but Boris Johnson hopes for a final in a full stadium.
Based on feedback from host cities, UEFA had planned to give its final opinion on the organization of the tournament in the coming days. The authority finally decided on Wednesday to leave “Until April 28” to the 12 host cities to adjust their health scenarios and increase the number of spectators expected.