Vaccination key for UEFA to stage Euros 2021 in multiple countries

In the midst of the new Coronavirus strain, UEFA is hoping that the vaccination efforts will allow the continental governing body and the organisers to stand firm in their initial plan to host the rescheduled Euros 2020 in June 2021. The month-long football extravaganza was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A final decision on the future of the tournament would be made in mid-March.

The European competition that was extended to be a 24-team affair in the last edition is one of the biggest revenue generators for Europe’s football governing body and national federations. The 2020 edition was planned to be a pan-European tournament. The host cities are Bilbao, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Budapest, Glasgow, Baku, Dublin, Amsterdam, Munich, St Petersburg, and Rome, with the semi-finals and final set to be hosted by London.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is optimistic about the vaccination process which is going on across the host countries will be crucial to go ahead with the previously-decided plan. “Vaccination has started and I think we will be able to have full stands in the summer,” he said in a recent interview with Serbian newspaper Informer. “For now, the plan is to play in all 12 countries. Of course, there are back-up options in case a country has a problem.”

At the end of 2020, UEFA cancelled 2021 Men’s and Women’s Under-17 Championships – scheduled to be held in May, in Cyprus and the Faroe Islands, respectively – saying that “the current epidemiological situation in many parts of Europe makes it unrealistic to hold youth competitions in the first months of 2021.” 

UEFA has confirmed that they have been working on four operational scenarios – for full stadiums, 50-100 per cent capacity, 20-30 per cent capacity, and games behind closed doors. A statement from UEFA said, “A decision on which scenario will be applied individually in each city during the tournament will be made on March 5, 2021.” Possibility of switching to a single host nation in the worst scenario is not ruled out yet.

Taking the broadcasting deals and the related commercial interest into consideration, UEFA would be determined to host the event, even if the entire tournament had to be held without spectators.

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