UEFA boss mince-no-words Euro 2020 stance

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EURO 2020 will be played in front of fans Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) President Aleksander Čeferin, while mincing no words, has said that the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 will not be played in empty stadia – “Host cities must allow fans into grounds or risk being dropped.”

‘Firstpost’ stated that the UEFA is pulling out all stops to ensure that every fixture at this year’s delayed pan-continental Euros will be staged in front of onlookers.

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2020 or simply Euro 2020, is scheduled to be the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Europe organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). It is slated to be held from June 11th to July 11th, 2021.

Nyon (Switzerland)-headquartered the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative body for football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe. It is one of six continental confederations of world football’s governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

The soccer spectacle which could not be held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 punch is due to be held this year in 12 different countries the host cities being – Amsterdam (Netherlands), Baku (Azerbaijan), Bilbao (Spain), Bucharest (Romania), Budapest (Hungary), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dublin (Ireland), Glasgow (UK), London (UK), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), and Saint Petersburg (Russia).

‘Firstpost’ added that the UEFA has maintained, “If a City proposes a no fans scenario, the matches due to be held there could be switched to Cities able to welcome supporters.”

Čeferin stated in no uncertain terms, “Every host must guarantee the presence of fans.”

However, the UEFA top shot indicated that the new variants of the deadly virus which is ultra-contagious will necessitate strict COVID-19 protocols in place, and a ‘fans are obligatory’ criteria could see the tournament reduced to being held in “10 or 11 countries”.

Host Cities have been handed an April 7th deadline to let UEFA know what their scenarios are in terms of allowing fans into stadia fold ahead of an executive committee meeting to be held on April 19th, on the eve of the federation’s annual congress in Montreux (Switzerland) which will be held on April 20th and wherein a final decision on host Cities will be made.

The multivenue format, whilst complex, gives organizers more room to deal with issues arising due to COVID-19 which is still holding the world in its fatal grip.

“If we can no longer do anything in one country there are still 11 others where preparations are already in progress,” UEFA’s health advisor Daniel Koch had stated in the beginning of this month.

Asserted Čeferin, “Football is still being played in empty stadiums across Europe. We have several scenarios, but the one guarantee we can make is that the option of playing any Euro 2020 match in an empty stadium is off the table.”

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