UK ‘cave in’ to UEFA to keep final at Wembley


Wembley in danger to loose EURO 2020 final Image: Wembley Stadium

With the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) putting its foot down and threatening to move the European Championship final from Wembley (UK) to Budapest (Hungary) over the quarantine clause for 2,500 VIP officials, people in charge are doing “as much as we possibly can” to accommodate the European football championship and as per a Minister the UK Government is to allow thousands of VIPs into England without the need to quarantine to stop the soccer spectacle final from being moved out from Wembley to Budapest.

‘The Guardian’ stated that the proposal would exempt about 2,500 UEFA and FIFA officials, politicians, sponsors, and broadcasters from the quarantine restrictions faced by other travelers.

Euro 2020 presently underway is 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 being held from June 11th and will conclude on July 11th, 2021.

The 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London (UK). It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the FA Cup Final.

Nyon (Switzerland)-based 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 UK Government announced a four-week delay to the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England on June 21st to allow more people to be jabbed to combat the Delta coronavirus variant which is on the rise in the United Kingdom and has been termed by experts to be more “dangerous”.

The only teams playing in Euro 2020 on England’s ‘green list’ of countries that do not require isolation on arrival are Wales and Scotland.

‘The Guardian’ further stated that all others are on the amber list bar Turkey, which is on the red list. Travelers arriving from red list countries must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days while those from amber list countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can get released from quarantine early if they pay for a private test, at least five days after arrival, and it comes back negative.

Speaking to reporters in Kirklees (England), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “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.”

Asked how it would be fair for VIPs to have a different set of rules from the general public, the Policing and Crime Minister, Kit Malthouse, stated, “I haven’t seen the detail of that particular proposal. One of the things we are trying to do though is obviously accommodate the Euros as much as we possibly can. And while much of the concern around coronavirus regulations has been about whether one situation is fair compared with another situation, what we’re generally trying to do is make difficult decisions about the path of a virus, at the same time as trying to enable the ordinary operation of very special events like the Euros.”

Added Malthouse, “No doubt, health professionals and the immigration professionals at the Home Office and then the senior ministers who make a decision will take all of that into account as we proceed. Look, it’s a great competition, we’re very lucky to have it, we’re trying to make it happen with as much kind of satisfaction all round as we possibly can and that will be taken into account in the decision over the next few days.”

The ministers were concerned that if they did not relax the rules the semi-finals and final would be moved to Hungary, which will have no border restrictions for travel within the Schengen zone from next week and would host the games to full strength.

It said VIPs would also be allowed to attend matches at Wembley during the knockout phase of the tournament as well as training sessions and meetings with the UK Government.

UEFA said on June 18th that it was in discussions about allowing supporters traveling to the UK to avoid having to quarantine.

A spokesperson said, “At the moment, we are in discussions with the local authorities to try to allow fans of the participating teams to attend the matches, using a strict testing and bubble concept that would mean their stay in the UK would be less than 24 hours and their movements would be restricted to approved transport and venues only. We understand the pressures that the Government faces and hope to be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion of our discussions on the matter. There is always a contingency plan but we are confident that the final week will be held in London.”

The all-English Champions League final was held in Portugal last month after discussions about bringing the match to Wembley came to naught because the UK failed to offer the quarantine exemptions UEFA had requested for the game.

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