July 25, 2021

Wembley cleared to host over 60,000 spectators for the semi-finals and the final

The gauge is revised upwards. It is no longer 40,000, but “More than 60,000 supporters [qui] will now be able to attend the semi-finals [les 6 et 7 juillet] and in the final [le 11 juillet] Euro at Wembley Stadium “, the British government announced in a press release on Tuesday, June 22, after several days of uncertainty as UEFA demanded from London a relaxation of traffic restrictions linked to Covid-19 for 2,500 VIPs expected for the final.

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The press had even mentioned the threat of a relocation of the last three matches of the tournament to Budapest, where the stadiums can be filled to 100%. It will be “The largest crowd gathered for a sporting event for more than fifteen months in the United Kingdom”, thus welcomed the British government in its press release.

“I am grateful to the Prime Minister and the UK Government for their hard work in making this arrangement with us, and making the end of this tournament a great success at Wembley”, commented UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin in the statement.

Concern given the resurgence of coronavirus contaminations

For the three group matches in England, 22,500 spectators – or around 25% of the capacity of the London stadium – were allowed to take their seats. Last week, the government raised the gauge to 40,000 in anticipation of one of the two round of 16 scheduled in the enclosure: the one that, on June 29, could concern England if the Three Lions finish at the top of their group (D) – they will need to beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday evening. The same gauge also applied to the last three matches of the tournament.

On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had expressed the wish that “The final of the European championship does not take place in a country where contagions are growing rapidly”. In fact, the Delta variant, first identified in India and very contagious otherwise, caused a resurgence in the number of contaminations in the United Kingdom and led the government to postpone the lifting of the latest anti-Covid measures, which should have had held on June 21.

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The demand has not gone very well in public opinion, as British residents are still hampered in their movements by periods of isolation and by compulsory quarantine on their return from abroad.

This announcement puts an end to the suspense, even if no mention is made of the 2,500 VIPs. “We have worked very closely with UEFA and the [Fédération anglaise de football] to ensure that tough and drastic health measures are put in place, while allowing more fans to watch the matches live ”, assures the Minister of Sports, Oliver Dowden, in the press release.

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The World with AFP