Completely disregarding their restrictions imposed upon the average Joe, the UK government has revealed that at least 2,500 VIPs, officials and dignitaries WILL be allowed to travel to London for the Euro 2020 final.
The group, who will be given special ‘Euro 2020 invitee’ status, will also be allowed to attend the semi-finals as well without the need to self-isolate or quarantine on their arrival in England.
Those admitted will include executives and committee members of UEFA and members of the FIFA council, while the invites will also be extended to senior officials from UEFA and FIFA associate nations all over the globe.
Further attracting the ire of football fans and those who have acted in accordance with protocol for over a year, politicians and senior figures at any company that has sponsored or partnered with the Euros will also be allowed to enter London.
A figure has not been given for the total number of dignitaries who will be given special dispensation to travel, although it is believed that UEFA alone are trying to secure 2,500 places for the Euro 2020 final on July 11.
Anyone that is granted permission to travel will have to agree to only travel to and from their hotel to attend the game – creating their own ‘bubble’ environment.
It’s a move that has unsurprisingly drawn the ire of football fans, who are finding it very difficult to secure match tickets given the limited capacity, and restriction-exhausted Brits who simply want to get away on holiday. Elsewhere, supporters of Italy and Austria are not allowed to travel to England to watch their teams clash in the Round of 16.
However, John Whittingdale – the Culture Minister – defended his government’s stance, and claimed that those who did travel into from overseas would be under ‘strict restrictions’.
“We’re talking about a very limited number of people coming in and they’re also subject to quite significant restrictions,” he said.
“They’re not just able to come in and travel around Britain. They come in to attend a match and go away again.
“We wouldn’t have been able to host the tournament at Wembley if we hadn’t allowed the players and people associated with the teams to come in to do so.”
It’s Business Time
The good news for English football fans is that the capacity for the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final at Wembley Stadium will be extended.
Those games will form part of the government’s Events Research Programme, the series of trials of mass spectator events, and will be quite comfortably the largest sporting gatherings tested yet.
Wembley will be 75% full for those matches at the business end of the tournament, and will see the largest crowds at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic began.
The two Round of 16 games to be played at London’s flagship venue will have around 45,000 spectators present, before the biggest expansion yet in time for the semi finals on July 6 and 7 and the final on the eleventh.
Happily, UEFA has confirmed it has no plans to move the matches away from the UK in spite of the current climate.