Wembley fans must wait after Boris Johnson’s ‘road map’ detour

The possibility of Wembley being full for the Euro 2020 final remains despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson keeping coronavirus restrictions in place until the week after.

As expected, the initial plan for a significant nationwide easing of restrictions on Monday has been put on ice amidst concerns about controlling the Delta variant of the virus. But Johnson name-checked the European Championship games as potential “pilot events” where larger crowds could be permitted.

Wembley is hosting three groups games, two last-16 ties – one of which will involve England should they win their group – and the semi-finals and final of the pan-European competition, which is being played in 11 countries. It concludes on July 11.

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Under the existing regulations, attendances at sporting events are limited to a quarter of capacity up to a maximum of 10,000, but England’s matches against Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic have been exempted from the upper limit by being classed as pilot events. Experiments have taken place with other events too, sporting and non-sporting to monitor how larger concentrations of people are affected by the spread of the virus.

England fans bunched up in the stands during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley. Picture: PA

Those attending Wembley for Sunday’s game against Croatia had to provide proof of either two vaccinations or a negative test against the virus within 48 hours.

“We will continue to pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances,” confirmed Johnson announcing the delay to the final stage of easing yesterday.

“The large events pilots will be going forward to continue to test and trial Covid status certification.

“The plan is to do somewhere between 10 and 15 pilot events. They will be a mix of indoor and outdoor events. They will be a mix of seated and unseated events, operating up to full capacity where that is possible over the four weeks to July 19.

England manager Gareth Southgate applauds the fans after the UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match at Wembley Stadium. Picture: PA.

“It will include further Euros games at Wembley and other kinds of key sporting events, as well as trials at some cultural events to test some more indoor venues. The full list of those pilots and further details will be announced in the coming days.”

Johnson reserved the right to bring forward the easing of restrictions on July 5 if conditions allow. The first semi-final is due to be the next day.

Wembley can host 90,000 spectators, but only 22,500 will watch each group game.