UEFA could strip Wembley of hosting Euro final

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Wembley Stadium could be stripped of hosting the Euro 2020 final and semifinals, with the fixtures moved to Hungarian capital Budapest, if the United Kingdom government fails to allow quarantine exemptions for visiting supporters and UEFA guests to attend the games, sources have told ESPN.

As first reported by The Times, U.K. ministers are discussing a proposal to exempt UEFA officials, VIPs and sponsors, and international broadcasters from the requirement to quarantine for 10 days — visitors can self-release after five days with a negative COVID-19 test — on arrival in the U.K.

Sources have told ESPN that UEFA have raised the issue with the U.K. government primarily to secure an exemption for supporters of competing teams to travel to London for the semis and the final next month.

Euro 2020, which is taking place 12 months late because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is being staged in 11 countries across Europe, and the nine host cities on the European mainland have granted quarantine exemptions for citizens from other countries to attend games in their cities.

Sources have said, however, that the U.K. is continuing to hold firm on its border policy of insisting on a 10-day quarantine for all visitors from countries on its amber list and is reluctant to exempt UEFA officials at a time when U.K. citizens are subject to the same strict measures when returning from overseas.

Wembley was denied the opportunity to stage the 2021 Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea last month because of the government’s refusal to waive quarantine rules for up to 2,500 UEFA guests. Having taken the game away from Istanbul, Turkey, UEFA instead handed the fixture to Porto, Portugal.

When asked about the situation on Friday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ll be talking to UEFA about what they want and see if we can make some sensible accommodations. But the priority obviously has to be public health.”

While sources have said that moving the Euro 2020 final and semifinals from Wembley is still an outside possibility, UEFA remains determined to ensure that its showpiece occasion is accessible to as many supporters and guests from outside the U.K. as possible.

By ESPN

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