UEFA might be forced to change its plans on Euro 2020

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UEFA’s plans for Euro 2020 may have to be changed after two of the host venues, Dublin and Bilbao, were unable to commit to at least some fans being able to attend games amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand Azerbaijan will allow fans to attend Euro 2020 matches in Baku amid the COVID-19 pandemic with its Olympic Stadium set to be capped at 50% capacity, the country’s football association (AFFA) said on Thursday.

Azerbaijan did not qualify for the tournament and the AFFA said fans from countries taking part will be allowed to attend matches provided the requirements for a visa and COVID-19 mitigation are met.

European soccer governing body UEFA had set a Wednesday deadline for the 12 host cities to submit their plans for fan capacity at the rescheduled June-July tournament.

Hungary did not make their submission to UEFA public but information on ticketing plans are set to be announced next week.

“We want, if the epidemiological situation allows, as many fans as possible to watch the matches in the Puskas Arena, with maximum compliance with safety and epidemiological regulations,” a Hungarian FA spokesman told Nemzeti Sport.

Baku will be hosting three group games and one quarter-final while Budapest stages three group games and one last-16 game.

On Wednesday, Dublin and Bilbao said they were unable to commit to at least some fans being able to attend games while Italy were unable to confirm their plans by the deadline. The Spanish soccer federation said that the city Bilbao will be unable to hold Euro 2020 matches with spectators. Bilbao’s city hall said earlier on Wednesday it had submitted a plan to organisers UEFA to have the San Mames stadium at 25% capacity for the four games at the tournament, as long as coronavirus rates dropped to levels accepted by the regional health authorities.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said last month that the country, which has had a more rapid rollout of vaccines than the European Union states, was ready to take on extra games if UEFA needed.

European soccer’s governing body asked all 12 host cities to come up with their plans for fan capacity at venues for the tournament, which kicks off on June 11.

Euro 2020 was postponed by a year due to the pandemic and most of Europe’s football has taken place without fans for the past 12 months.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said that all host cities must guarantee some fan presence. A formal decision on the venues may not be made until UEFA’s congress on April 20.