Euro 2020: Wembley capacity increases confirmed despite rising Covid-19 cases

UEFA’s medical chief admits it “cannot be excluded” that there will be Covid-19 cases linked to matches at Euro 2020, but said the same applies to any number of gatherings now permitted as restrictions ease across the continent.

Back in the game: England fans cheer against Germany. Wembley capacities will increase for the semi-finals and final despite Covid-19 fears.
Back in the game: England fans cheer against Germany. Wembley capacities will increase for the semi-finals and final despite Covid-19 fears.

Figures published by Public Health Scotland (PHS) on Wednesday showed 1,991 residents who later had a laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis were in their transmission period while at gatherings related to the tournament between June 11 and 28.

Nearly two-thirds of cases - or 1,294 people - reported travelling to London at around the time of the match against England on June 18, with 397 going inside Wembley for the game.

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Authorities in Denmark also reported 29 infections linked to the three group games staged in Copenhagen.

Euro 2020 medical advisor Dr Daniel Koch said today: “It cannot be totally excluded that events and gatherings could ultimately lead to some local increase in the number of cases, but this would not only apply to football matches, but also to any kind of situations that are now allowed as part of the easing measures decided by the competent local authorities.

“The intensive vaccination campaigns that have been rolled out across Europe and the border controls will help ensure that no new big wave will start in Europe and put pressure on the respective health systems, as was the case during the previous infection waves.”

UEFA also ruled out any alteration to the match schedule or capacity limits for the final stages after criticism from Germany and Italy regarding the games at Wembley.

Germany’s interior minister Horst Seehofer said earlier this week it was “irresponsible” to allow almost 42,000 into Wembley for his country’s last-16 match against England, with more than 60,000 set to be permitted to attend the semi-finals and final.

The week before, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi had questioned staging the final matches at Wembley, pointing to the UK’s rapidly rising infection rates, and suggested the last three games be moved to Rome instead.

UEFA said in a statement: “All the remaining matches of Euro 2020 will go ahead according to the match schedule as planned.

“The mitigation measures implemented in each of the Euro 2020 host venues are fully aligned with the regulations set out by the competent local public health authorities.

“The final decisions with regards to the number of fans attending matches and the entry requirements to any of the host countries and host stadiums fall under the responsibility of the competent local authorities, and UEFA strictly follows any such measures.”