Football

UEFA confident Euro 2020 matches will remain at Wembley

UEFA are threatening to move the final of Euro 2020 from Wembley to Budapest, unless the UK government waive quarantine rules for 2,500 travelling officials.

UEFA has claimed it is confident the semi-finals and final of the European Championships will remain in London, but the governing body acknowledged there is a contingency plan should discussions with the United Kingdom Government prove unsuccessful over COVID-19 restrictions.

The semi-finals of the European tournament are set to take place on July 6 and 7 at Wembley Stadium in the UK capital.

The final is scheduled to be held at the 90,000-capacity venue on July 11.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed the full lifting of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this week until July 19 amid concerns over the Delta variant, the strain of coronavirus first identified in India.

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Capacity for the semi-finals and finals will be 45,000, it is planned.

The Times reported that Budapest could be in line to replace Wembley, should VIPS not be given an exemption to attend the latter stages of the tournament.

Budapest is one of the cities hosting group games, with the 60,000-capacity Puskas Arena the only venue in the tournament operating with a full capacity.

Johnson has said discussions are ongoing with UEFA on the issue.

Johnson claimed the safety would be the top priority for the Government.

Most countries in Europe are currently on the UK Government’s “amber list”.

That means visitors from those countries, including those who live there, must self-isolate for up to 10 days whether they have symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

“We’ll do what we have to do to keep the country safe from COVID,” he said.

“That’s obviously going to be our priority.

“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.”

The Times has reported that around 2,500 UEFA and FIFA officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters could be exempted from Government rules to allow the semi-finals and final to remain at Wembley.

Only Scotland and Wales are among the participating teams at the tournament whose fans and officials would not be subjected to isolation measures.

UEFA has expressed confidence the latter stages will remain in the London.

“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.”

The UK Government previously were unable to reach an agreement with UEFA to stage the all-English Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City last month.

This was reportedly due to the Government requiring UEFA officials and partners to quarantine on arrival.

The final, which was initially scheduled to take place in Istanbul, was ultimately held at Porto in Portugal.

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