UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is confident that large numbers of fans will be able to attend matches at Wembley during the latter stages of this summer’s UEFA European Championships, while the head of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is also hopeful that the opening match of the tournament in Rome will go ahead with supporters.
The rescheduled Euro 2020 is due to take place from June 11 to July 11 in 12 cities across Europe. London’s Wembley Stadium will host seven matches at the tournament, including the semi-finals and final.
Under the roadmap outlined by the UK government, up to 10,000 fans could be allowed in English sports stadiums from May 17. This capacity limit would still be in place for Wembley’s first two Euro 2020 matches: England vs Croatia on June 13 and England vs Scotland on June 18.
From June 21, larger crowds could be allowed as all legal limits on social contact are lifted. Wembley will host England vs Czech Republic the following day and there is growing optimism that a significant number of spectators will be able to attend this match and the knockout fixtures scheduled at the stadium.
Dowden told Sky Sports News: “For the later matches in the tournament, we’ll be looking at substantially more than (10,000), but that is subject to finding a safe way of doing that. I’m very hopeful and optimistic that we will get many, many more people in for the later stage games.”
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has said that other events such as the Wimbledon tennis grand slam, which is scheduled for June 28 to July 11, and Formula 1’s British Grand Prix on July 18 are set to go ahead with crowds.
A number of test events for the return of fans are planned before the easing of restrictions and Dowden has confirmed to the BBC today (Monday) that the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on April 17-18 will be among them. Dowden added that more events are set to be announced this week.
Specific details on fan attendance for the semi-finals were not disclosed by Dowden, but the BBC reported that up to 20,000 fans is the target for the final of the competition on May 15.
Meanwhile, FIGC president Gabriele Gravina has said that he is “sure” that Rome will open Euro 2020 with fans in the stadium.
Gravina did not disclose how many fans would be in attendance for the match between Italy and Turkey but vowed that there will “definitely be a crowd”.
Euro 2020 host cities have just over a week to inform UEFA of their fan attendance plans for the tournament ahead of a UEFA Executive Committee meeting on April 19.
“We have invested two years of hard work and we’re convinced that by April 7 we will have feedback to present to UEFA, who won’t be able to ignore it,” said Gravina.
As well as London and Rome, Euro 2020 matches will be held in Glasgow, Dublin, Copenhagen, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Munich, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Baku.
Last week, Danish Culture Minister Joy Mogensen confirmed that Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium will be able to welcome at least 11,000 fans for its matches at the tournament.
Plans are also being drawn up for Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena to open at 50% capacity, while Hungary has indicated that only vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend games at Budapest’s Puskás Aréna.
It was reported earlier this month that Bilbao, Dublin and Glasgow were at risk of losing hosting rights amid uncertainty over whether fans will be able to attend games.