Spanish FA questions Bilbao’s Euro 2020 claims

Bilbao’s status as a host city for this summer’s UEFA European Championships remains up in the air after the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said that no agreement has been reached with the Basque Government over fan attendance plans for matches at San Mamés.

It emerged yesterday (Wednesday) that Bilbao’s city hall had told UEFA that it was prepared to host Euro 2020 games at the 53,000-seat San Mamés at 25% capacity, if COVID-19 infection rates fell below current levels.

The postponed Euro 2020 is due to take place in 12 cities across Europe and hosts had been given until yesterday to submit their fan attendance proposals. Bilbao yesterday offered assurances for matches at San Mamés but the RFEF said in a statement later in the day that it has not agreed with the Basque Government’s conditions, which it says are “impossible to comply with”.

The RFEF added that the plan to vaccinate 60% of the Basque Country and the rest of Spain before June 14, when Bilbao is due to host Spain vs Sweden, is an “impossible” objective to fulfil and will therefore leave fan attendance unlikely. Other requirements outlined by the Basque government include low COVID-19 hospital occupancy rates but the RFEF has questioned whether this would be achievable.

The RFEF continued: “There are seven conditions imposed by the Basque Government and they are also cumulative and are, clearly, impossible to comply with. Therefore, the decision that UEFA takes once this document has been analysed will not be the responsibility of the RFEF, since we have warned about it and we have stated this.

“The RFEF, based on the principle of equality and in defence of the Bilbao venue, will support this initiative of the Basque Government, if these same conditions are also accepted in any of the other cities hosting the Euros, a matter that today we see unlikely.”

UEFA will now assess the report provided by the RFEF with the conditions outlined by the Basque government.

Bilbao is due to host Spain’s three group stage matches against Sweden on June 14, Poland on June 19 and Slovakia on June 23. San Mamés will also host a round of 16 match on June 27.

Yesterday also saw Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland offer assurances to UEFA over their own fan attendance plans, but Dublin’s host status appears to be at risk after the Football Association of Ireland said it had notified UEFA that it was not in a position to provide assurances on minimum spectator levels.

Image: Tiia Monto/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size