The Sunday Telegraph
Euro 2020 footballers are ordered to stay in bubbles
ENGLAND’S footballers launch their latest mission to end 55 years of sporting hurt today – but the players are under strict orders not to celebrate too much.
Covid-19 protocols for the delayed European Championship mean familiar previous scenes of goalscorers running to the crowd to embrace are banned.
Downtime with family members is also outlawed for the players under what promises to be the most logistically challenging football tournament in history.
The 24 competing national teams will for the first time be flying back and forth to play matches in 11 different nations. Under rules passed down by Uefa, Covid bubble breaches could lead to a player being thrown out of the tournament.
As a result, the tournament will be a Wag-free zone for Gareth Southgate’s squad who will remain in the confines of a hotel despite playing their group stage fixtures on home soil.
Uefa expects to conduct about 24,000 Covid-19 tests in the coming weeks to ensure no outbreaks among players, referees, team officials or even coach drivers will derail the tournament.
A crowd of 22,500 will make their way to Wembley today to watch England begin their tournament against Croatia, the side that inflicted World Cup semi-final defeat on Southgate in 2018.
Despite the return of crowds and the reopening of pubs for the tournament, landlords are set to make millions less than they would do in previous years.
Stonegate, Britain’s largest pub and restaurant chain, has promised to follow Government guidance to stop fans from singing or standing while watching the action indoor on big screens.
Wetherspoons, meanwhile, has decided not to show any of the Euros 2020 fixtures in their 875 pubs – because of difficulties from the “current climate” which would make it “difficult to have people watching football with social distancing” measures in place, says the company.