As if the tournament hadn’t been beset with enough problems, it has now been confirmed that the rescheduled Euro 2020 will be played behind closed doors – for the group phase, at least.
There is still hope that a small number of fans that live in each of the 12 proposed host cities will be able to attend, but aside from that UEFA is contemplating whether or not to begin issuing refunds to supporters across the continent.
To confuse matters further, the governing body may then reopen the ballot for tickets once venues and crowd capacities have been confirmed – meaning that fans who ‘won’ tickets in the original draw may miss out in this second round of ballot picks.
UEFA has revealed that they are working on a number of ‘operational scenarios’ that will allow Euro 2020 to take place in the dozen selected host cities, with each of those tasked with selecting a possible scenario and developing an action plan based upon them. By April, we’ll all know exactly what those are, and what they mean for supporters intending to watch the games at Wembley Stadium or travel further afield.
It is believed that UEFA is contemplating two possible options for the tournament. The best case scenario, and one that looks hopelessly optimistic right now, is that all of the host venues will welcome between 50-100% of their capacity onto the terraces, which would mean a minimum of 45,000 people cramming into Wembley on June 13 to watch England take on Croatia – right now, that seems simply implausible.
The second option would see the various stadia operating at 20-30% capacity with various safety measures in place, which would still see between 18,000 and 27,000 making the trip to Wembley – again, that seems like a pipedream.
It will be interesting to see how UEFA moves forward with their plans, and if a Plan C has been discussed or not….
UEFA Affirms Controversial 12-City Plan
Even in an age before coronavirus, the decision to allow 12 cities in different countries to host Euro 2020 games was controversial to say the least.
Ostensibly designed to allow the tournament to be increased in size and duration, while adding some welcome funds into the coffers, the idea was that Euro 2020 would have a continental, inclusive feel.
But looked at through the prism of Covid-19, that plan is looking to be increasingly foolhardy and a scenario of logistical nightmare has been made wholly worse by the pandemic.
As things stand, London, Glasgow, Dublin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome, Baku, Budapest, Bilbao and St Petersburg will all host games – including, in most cases, the ‘home’ matches of the host country, which hasn’t exactly helped to create an atmosphere of integration and inclusivity amongst those who won’t have home comforts to call upon.
Earlier this week UEFA released a statement reiterating their commitment to the 12-city plan, with the timetable of games already published to be adhered to. However, they did recognise that change may be afoot with regards to how many fans are allowed to attend.
“All parties recognise the need for flexibility around decisions to be made on the arrangements for the tournament, in order to reflect the different challenges and circumstances that cities find themselves in,” so the statement said.
“As a result of that and the fast-changing nature of the situation around the pandemic, the deadline for the submission of plans to accommodate fans inside the stadiums has been moved to early April.”
A European Championship played behind closed doors would be a truly sad sight to behold….