Euro-2021: UEFA plans to play semi-finals and final in Budapest

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday his priority was “public health” rather than keeping the Euro semi-finals and final at Wembley. Sources have confirmed to AFP that UEFA is considering moving the matches to Budapest.

Change of destination for the last square of Euro-2021? With the semi-finals and final of the competition set to be played at Wembley Stadium in London, Boris Johnson said on Friday (June 18th) that his priority was “public health”, which could lead UEFA to consider relocating these matches to Hungary.

According to the Times, the British Prime Minister is studying the possibility of exempting from quarantine around 2,500 people – UEFA or FIFA members, sponsors, broadcasters – for the semi-finals and the final, scheduled for 6, 7 and July 11 in London. According to media reports, some of its ministers fear that UEFA will move these three matches to Budapest if no exemption is proposed – Hungary does not impose any conditions on the entry into its territory of travelers from of the Schengen area.

The Hungarian capital is also the only one not to have imposed any gauge in its stadium for this Euro, while the British government, faced with a rebound in Covid-19 contaminations, for the moment plans a gauge of 50% for the semi-finals and the final.

The head of the British government was nevertheless more cautious on Friday. “We will do whatever we need to protect the country from Covid,” he said. “This is obviously our priority. We will discuss with UEFA to find out what they want and see if we can propose significant changes, but public health remains the priority.”

UEFA’s “Plan B”

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced to postpone by four weeks – to July 19 – the lifting of the latest restrictions in England due to a surge in the number of cases linked to the Delta variant.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Committee responsible for advising the government, however, estimated that hosting officials for the semi-finals and the final would “not be a major problem”. “I don’t think this will change the course of the epidemic in the UK”, the level of circulation of the Delta variant on the continent being “well, much lower than it is here”, said he estimated with Times Radio.

According to a high-ranking source close to the organization, the relocation of the semi-finals and the final is indeed a “solution envisaged” by UEFA. The decision will be taken “in the coming days”, assures another source close to the organizers questioned by AFP. “There is always a Plan B, but we are confident that the last week can be held in London,” UEFA said in a statement on Friday.

“We are in discussions with local authorities to try to allow supporters of participating teams to attend matches. Using a strict test and bubble system. This would ensure they stay less than 24 hours in the UK and that their movements be limited to accredited transport and sites “, adds the European confederation.

Last month, UEFA decided to move the Champions League final from Istanbul to Porto to allow Chelsea and Manchester City fans to watch the match. London had placed Turkey on its red list, which would have forced supporters to observe a quarantine on their return from Istanbul.

With AFP