LONDON (AP) — UEFA is in talks with the British government about allowing foreign soccer fans to fly into London for games in the latter stages of the European Championship to avoid moving them from Wembley Stadium.
The competition’s organizers have a contingency plan which involves taking the semifinals and final to Budapest if an agreement cannot be reached with authorities in London about exempting fans and dignitaries from quarantine.
The Euro 2020 semifinals and final are scheduled to be played at Wembley Stadium from July 6-11.
Because of a rise in coronavirus cases, plans to lift more coronavirus restrictions in England this month were paused until July 19.
“We’ll do what we have to do to keep the country safe from COVID,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. “That’s obviously going to be our priority, and 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.”
UEFA did secure a rise in attendance this week from about 22,000 to at least 40,000 for one round of 16 game, the semifinals and the final at Wembley. But UEFA now needs to ensure there are fans of the teams in the stadium and representatives of the sponsors and broadcasters who fund the competition.
“UEFA is delighted that the capacity at Wembley will go up to at least 50% for the knockout round matches,” European soccer’s governing body said in a statement.
“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 U.K. would be less than 24 hours and their movements would be restricted to approved transport and venues only.”
Tourists from all participating countries have to quarantine for at least five days when entering Britain at the moment.
“We understand the pressures that the government face and hope to be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion of our discussions on the matter,” UEFA said. “There is always a contingency plan but we are confident that the final week will be held in London.”
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