LONDON: Wembley’s capacity can be raised to more than 60,000 – some 75pc of capacity – for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020.

The UK government’s permission for the expansion will mean the largest crowds assembled for a sporting event in the country in more than 15 months.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “It is great news that so many fans will be able to watch the final three matches of Euro 2020 at Wembley.”

The UK government has postponed lifting all restrictions until July 19 but the game at Wembley, along with certain other sporting events, is being allowed extra crowd capacity under its Events Research Programme.

Wembley’s capacity has been reduced to 22,500 for group fixtures at Euro 2020, but that is set to be expanded to 45,000 – around 50% of full capacity – for two knockout games in the last 16 before the semi-finals on 6 and 7 July and final on 11 July.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had called for the final to be moved from England because of rising Covid-19 cases in the country but Uefa said it had “no plans” to do so.

There was also speculation the semi-finals and final could be moved from London to Budapest if VIPs were not given an exemption to England’s strict quarantine rules, and talks on that issue are continuing.

“This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road,” added Ceferin.

“I am grateful to the prime minister and the UK government for their hard work in finalising these arrangements with us, to make the tournament final stages a great success in Wembley.”

Fans attending the games at Wembley will need to follow a number of strict entry requirements, including having a negative Covid-19 test or proof of full vaccination, which means two vaccine doses, 14 days before the fixture they are attending.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As we continue to make progress on our roadmap out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority.

“We have worked extremely closely with Uefa and the Football Association to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live. The finals promise to be an unforgettable moment in our national recovery from the pandemic.”