KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- All clear for eight but four still in the balance. This is the update from European federation UEFA on the state of preparatory play among the 12 countries and venues selected to stage the pan-continental Euro 2020 finals.
The outliers after all the cities reported in to UEFA HQ in Nyon near Geneva were Bilbao, Dublin, Munich and Rome. All have been handed a 10-day extension to come up with guarantees on fan presence by the time of UEFA Congress.
Dublin appears the most uncertain of the quartet followed by Bilbao. Rome and Munich are expected to meet the deadline on way or another with the support of regional and national health authorities. Ireland’s matches would most likely be switched to a venue in England.
Rome is due to host the Opening Match on June 11 between Italy and Turkey.
The presence of foreign fans is not considered essential by UEFA though officials of Baku (Azerbaijan), Budapest (Hungary) and St Petersburg (Russia) have said that foreign ticket-holders will be exempt from any restrictions apart from proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
Hungary will also allow entry if a fan can show they have been infected within the past six months. Bucharest will allow fans staying for less than three days to avoid isolating on arrival, along with them presenting a negative test.
Ideally UEFA wants to see up to 50pc of capacity taken up though only Baku and St Petersburg are expected to hit that target.
Wembley, which will host seven matches, will have at least 25pc of the 90,000-seat stadium filled in the group stage and last 16. The intention is for capacity to be extended to 45,000 for the two semi-finals and the final on July 11.
A UEFA statement said: “Eight host countries have confirmed stadium capacities based on their projections of an improved health situation in their countries in June and July due to a number of factors, including a country’s vaccination rollout, its planned measures for reopening the economy, and the projected slowdown in the virus due to the warmer season.”
UEFA is pleased to announce that there will be a return of spectators to the EURO 2020 venues and wishes to express its appreciation to its member associations and the national and local authorities who are collaborating closely in ensuring the safe return of spectators to the stadium.
Currently, eight host countries have confirmed stadium capacities based on their projections of an improved health situation in their countries in June and July due to a number of factors, including a country’s vaccination rollout, its planned measures for reopening the economy and the projected slow-down in the virus due to warmer season.
Several of the host countries had already incorporated EURO 2020 in the rollout of their national recovery strategy. In addition, in planning the UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament, UEFA has worked closely with the World Health Organisation to adapt the WHO COVID-19 risk assessment tool for EURO 2020.
Venues with confirmed capacities of between 25% and 100%
St. Petersburg has confirmed a capacity of 50%, with the possibility of increasing the capacity by end of April, while Budapest is aiming to host spectators at full capacity, subject to spectators fulfilling strict stadium entry requirements.
Baku has confirmed a capacity of 50%, with the travelling fans of the participating teams required to present a negative COVID-19 test result to enter Azerbaijan.
Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen and Glasgow have confirmed a capacity of 25%-33%, with Amsterdam, Bucharest and Copenhagen keeping open the option potentially to raise their capacities at the end of this month, depending on the development of their mass testing programmes and general health conditions.
London has confirmed a minimum capacity of 25% for the three group matches and round of 16 match and are hoping to confirm a higher capacity for the semi-finals and final in early June.
Munich, Rome, Bilbao, Dublin
The remaining four cities have until 19 April to provide additional information on their plans and final decisions will be made on that date regarding the staging of matches in those four venues.
Further information for ticket holders in those four venues will be communicated at that time.
Fans encouraged to consider border entry restrictions and requirements
Fans wishing to travel to the host countries to watch the matches will find it challenging due to ever-changing restrictions. They will have to comply with the border entry restrictions and requirements (including quarantine) in force at the time, as no exemptions will be granted for ticketholders for nine host countries.
Only three host countries are planning exemptions from entry restrictions and requirements. Ticket holders travelling to Baku, Budapest and St. Petersburg may be able to benefit from special procedures that will exempt them from entry bans or quarantine requirements.
Non-resident ticket holders traveling to Budapest will be required to present proof of negative results from two COVID-19 tests performed in the 5 days preceding entry into Hungary or a certificate of previous COVID-19 infection valid within 6 months prior to entry into the country.
For St. Petersburg, the authorities are also considering exemption from travel restrictions for the general public and participating team supporters holding valid tickets, subject to presenting proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result.
For Baku, the exemption is applicable only to participating team supporters (citizens or residents of said country) holding a ticket who may enter the country if they present proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test result.
In addition, for the matches in Bucharest, ticket holders may benefit from the exemption from quarantine if they present a recent COVID-19 test and limit their stay to less than three days.
Ticket buyers will receive an email informing them where they can find information regarding border entry restrictions and requirements for the host countries.
UEFA have addressed the questions spectators might have following this media release in the official spectator event guide, available on EURO2020.com and the UEFA EURO 2020 App, with additional information about COVID-19 mitigation measures at the stadium and travel information for each host city.
Last chance to return tickets
Anyone wishing to return their tickets may do so on the UEFA ticketing portal which is already open and will close at 18:00 CEST on Thursday, April 22, in order to receive a full refund. Special arrangements will be made for ticket buyers should a venue be changed or should a venue not be able to host any spectator and further details would be communicated in due course.
Cancellation ballot to meet reduced capacities
Once the ticketing return phase is closed on April 22, UEFA will determine if the number of sold tickets that have been retained by ticket holders exceeds the permitted seating capacities of each match.
Should this be the case, a ballot will be held in order to determine the additional tickets that will need to be cancelled in order to comply with the decisions of the host country governments. For tickets purchased through the Participating National Associations sales programme, the rules of the respective fan clubs will apply.
Ticket buyers that have been unsuccessful in the ballot will be informed in May.
Tickets for supporters of Hungary, North Macedonia, Scotland and Slovakia
The sale of tickets that have been reserved for the teams (Hungary, North Macedonia, Scotland, Slovakia) that qualified through EURO 2020 play-offs will start in early May.