Interesting update on 2020 Euro plans for return of fans at Wembley
An interesting time ahead as this season’s packed schedule of matches in front of no fans, is at last set to shortly be eased into a situation of a hopefully growing number of supporters being allowed in games in England.
Pilot schemes in April at various sporting arenas are set to include fans at football matches, including one of the FA Cup semi-finals and potentially some Premier League games, amongst others.
This all building towards the targeted 17 May 2021 date, when a widespread return of spectators to sporting events is set to happen, though with limited numbers. The Premier League reportedly set to allow up to 10,000 fans (or 25% of capacity, whichever figure is lower) into each of the final two rounds of matches.
There have also been claims that the Premier League will allow a small number of away fans to be part of that limited return for the last two matches of the season, with away supporters potentially getting up to 10% of the permitted number of tickets.
This hopefully growing return of fans is set to be accelerated when the delayed by a year 2020 Euros takes place between 11 June and 11 July.
Martyn Ziegler is Chief Sports Reporter at The Times and is normally very good with his exclusives on what is happening behind the scenes with the football authorities.
He has now reported that with a deadline of 7 April 2021 to declare to UEFA their intentions on the return of fans for the tournament, the FA are set to tell them that a half full Wembley with over 40,000 fans, is the intention for the two semi-finals and final which will all be held at Wembley.
Altogether 12 countries are set to host games but the man from The Times says that any country which won’t commit to having at least some fans inside the stadium, will almost certainly lose their intended matches, with them given to other countries instead.
Wembley will also host England’s three group matches, first up are Croatia on Sunday 13 June (2pm kick-off), before England then face Scotland on Friday 18 June at 8pm. The group stage will conclude against the Czech Republic on Tuesday 22 June, with kick-off also at 8pm.
The Times report saying that the FA are set to commit to having at least 10,000 fans inside Wembley for each of the first two England games, then more for the third one and a round of 16 match Wembley is scheduled to host as well.
The report adding that if the government lifts restrictions ever further, then the FA would look to quickly increase the number of fans at any of their hosted games, even at short notice.
UEFA themselves currently have a maximum spectator limit of 30% of a venue’s capacity because of the pandemic but The Times say that this is expected to be lifted with decisions on crowd sizes left to local authorities.
With only ten weeks now until the tournament, hopefully the virus situation will continue to ease, both in the UK and elsewhere around Europe / rest of the World.
Other countries hosting 2020 Euros matches have made some pledges already, with Denmark confirming at least 12,000 fans allowed in Copenhagan, Italy committing to at least 50% in Rome and Russia the same for their St Petersburg venue.
With the 2020 Euros concluding only five weeks before the 2021/22 Premier League season kicks off (only four weeks before the Championship…), what happens in terms of numbers of fans allowed into these games at Wembley is set to be a big pointer to what will be the case with club football at the start of next season.
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