NYON/LONDON: European federation UEFA has sought to play down speculation that the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 could be shifted, at the last minute, from Wembley to Budapest because of complications over the UK government’s Covid-19 health controls.

Concerns were sparked despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assurance on Monday that the Euro finals matches would continue to enjoy special status as pilot test events.

The Euro 2020 semifinals and final are scheduled to be played at Wembley from July 6-11.

A rise in coronavirus cases saw the UK delay a relaxing of restrictions from June 21 to July 19 however UEFA has already been assured of a rise in permitted Wembley attendance for the knockout stage from 22,500 to at least 40,000.

A UEFA statement said: “UEFA is delighted that the capacity at Wembley will go up to at least 50% for the knock-out round matches. 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 face 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.”