The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Rome ‘fully confirmed’ to kick-off Euro 2020

- - AFP

ROME: Euro 2020 will kick-off as scheduled on June 11 in Rome after European football’s governing body UEFA on Wednesday “fully confirmed” the Italian capital after receiving guarantees that fans would be present in the Stadio Olimpico.

Rome was one of four of the 12 host cites in the pan-European tournament threatened with having its matches removed because it could not give assurances that spectators would be allowed into grounds given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The authoritie­s have guaranteed at least 25 percent of the stadium’s capacity will be filled,” European football’s governing body said.

“As a result, UEFA considers Rome to be fully confirmed as a venue for the tournament.”

But uncertaint­y remains over three other cities -- Munich, Bilbao and Dublin -- who have been given until April 19 to provide UEFA with additional informatio­n on their plans for spectators.

Rome’s 68,000-capacity Olympic stadium is set to host the opening fixture for the tournament, between Turkey and Italy, on June 11.

It was also picked to host Italy’s other group matches against Switzerlan­d and Wales, as well as a quarter-final.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has warned that countries that failed to offer guarantees on supporter numbers could be dropped as hosts.

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium is scheduled to host three group matches and a last-16 game but there are growing doubts over the issue of fan attendance.

The Football Associatio­n of Ireland said last week it was “not in a position at this point to provide assurances on minimum spectator levels at the UEFA Euro 2020 matches due to be held in Dublin in June”.

London’s Wembley will host seven matches and England’s Football Associatio­n is planning for the stadium to operate at a “minimum 25 percent” capacity with the possibilit­y of increasing the numbers for the two semifinals and July 11 final.

The tournament was postponed from last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

And despite ongoing concerns about new and emerging Covid19 strains, crowd attendance had been imposed by UEFA on pain of withdrawin­g the right to host matches.

UEFA however pointed out that fans with tickets for matches in Rome would have “no exemptions granted” regarding any travel restrictio­ns in place at the time for people arriving from outside Italy.

Problems also face fans wishing to follow their team to Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Glasgow and London.

The crowd numbers will also vary between host countries.

World champions France will play European champions Portugal in Group F on June 23 in Budapest, where authoritie­s are planning on a full stadium.

However, their respective matches against Germany in Munich remain subject to a decision that German and Bavarian authoritie­s will take in the coming days.

Saint Petersburg and Baku have for their part promised a 50 percent capacity and should offer foreign supporters “special procedures exempting them from entry restrictio­ns or quarantine­s,” according to UEFA.

The Dutch, Romanian and Danish capitals are considerin­g “25 to 33 percent” of spectators, but are allowing themselves the possibilit­y “to increase their capacities by the end of the month,” UEFA having given them until April 28 to finalise their plans.

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