Euro 2020 on COVID thin ice; may move venues


EURO 2021 merged to 1 country Image: Visit Copenhagen

Die-hard football fans who are keeping their fingers crossed to attend this summer’s rescheduled Union of European Football Association (UEFA) European Championships have been told they will be offered refunds if matches are a closed door affair or are held at a reduced capacity as the COVID-19 situation ‘explodes’ in Europe with many European countries starting 2021 with earlier curfews, stay-at-home orders and other measures to fight the new peaks in infections and deaths. Supporters may lose out if fixtures are moved to different venues after the UEFA updated its ticketing policy.

UEFA emailed ticket holders on January 14th and fans have been given until January 26th to request a refund if they do not agree with any of the changes outlined by the governing body.

UEFA confirmed that if matches are held behind closed doors or with a limited number of fans in attendance, ticket holders would be entitled to a full refund.

On March 17th, 2020, UEFA announced that its flagship fixture – UEFA Euro 2020 – would be postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, and proposed it take place from June 11th to July 11th, 2021, which was confirmed on June 17th, 2020.

The Nyon (Switzerland)-headquartered Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member States are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA.

The UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the UEFA European Championship and informally as the Euros, is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), determining the continental champion.

The refund policy has now been updated to include a ‘pandemic’ clause in the definition of ‘force majeure’, which covers any event affecting the tournament which can be attributable to acts beyond UEFA’s control such as the pandemic.

Euro 2020 is scheduled to be held at 12 venues across Europe and the new clause means that if any matches are moved to a different City, fans will need to travel to the new location as they will not be entitled to a refund.

The UEFA policy states, “In the event of the postponement of the match before kick-off for a reason of force majeure, the ticket will be valid for the rearranged match. The applicant will not be entitled to a refund of the tickets if they are unable to attend the rearranged playing of the match.”

The UEFA added, “The ‘change of venue’ provisions specifically rely on whether UEFA say the ticket is valid for the rescheduled venue for the match and UEFA would take into account matters such as reasonable traveling distances from the original venue when making that determination.”

The rescheduled Euro 2020 is due to take place from June 11th to July 11th this year. London’s Wembley Stadium is due to host the semi-finals and final of the tournament, with matches also scheduled to be held in Glasgow (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), St Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary) and Baku (Azerbaijan).

Meanwhile, the UEFA Executive Committee has announced the candidates that will stand for election at its 45th Ordinary Congress to be held in Montreux, Switzerland, on April 20th this year.

Nine candidatures have been received for the eight members of the UEFA Executive Committee to be elected for a four-year term. They are Mehdi Bayat (Belgium), Zbigniew Boniek (Poland), Alexander Dyukov (Russia), David Gill (England), Gabriele Gravina (Italy), Rainer Koch (Germany), Karl-Erik Nilsson (Sweden), Just Spee (Netherlands), and Servet Yardımcı.

Boniek, Gill, Koch, Nilsson and Yardımcı are current members of the Executive Committee and will be standing for re-election.

UEFA has also received candidatures for the FIFA Vice-President’s position reserved for the four British associations, as well as for five ordinary members’ positions on the FIFA Council (including at least one female).

Candidates for the FIFA Vice-President position are David Martin (Northern Ireland), Michael Mulraney (Scotland) and Kieran O’Connor (Wales). Candidates for the one female member position on the FIFA Council are Evelina Christillin (Italy), who is standing for re-election, and Laura McAllister (Wales).

Candidates for four ordinary members’ positions on the FIFA Council are: Răzvan Burleanu (Romania), Georgios Koumas (Cyprus), Peter Peters (Germany) and Dejan Savićević (Montenegro). Koumas and Savićević will be standing for re-election.

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