What is The Fate of Euro 2021?
Euro 2020 was cancelled because of the disruption related to the COVID-19 crisis. Now the tournament has been renamed to Euro 2021, indicating its readiness to be held in the summer of the year. The organizers don’t seem like they want to wait anymore for the pandemic to end, since there’s no end in sight.
The continental championship of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is a big event eagerly awaited by many football lovers. But most of them still don’t know for sure whether it will really happen despite the ongoing COVID-19 rage. Keep reading to find out if Euro 2021 will be delayed again by another year.
Will Euro 2021 Go Ahead?
Words From the UEFA Executive Committee
On the one hand, UEFA executives confirmed that Euro 2021 will kick off in the summer of the year. But on the other hand, they also inserted an escape clause stating that if COVID-19 spirals out of control, they might have to change their decision at the last moment.
Wembley Stadium will host the highly-anticipated Euro final. But with the virus surging in Europe, no one can be sure if the football championship can be staged successfully.
According to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, the schedule of the tournament won’t be changed, that is, it will still be held in 12 cities across Europe. This decision was taken following a virtual meeting with all the host countries.
UEFA boss said that Euro is the flagship national team competition and is an important part of football’s development in the continent.
The Fate of Euro 2021
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Europe and the continent is struggling amid emerging variants, it is hard to envision that this tournament will go on as initially arranged. To make things even more complicated, Euro 2020 was originally planned as a one-time multinational event to mark its 60th anniversary, with multiple host countries.
With the Coronavirus risk, different travel directions for players, staff, fans and media can potentially increase the infection rates. In addition, the high case-fatality rates in COVID-19 could also mean that stadiums won’t be completely filled this midyear as it used to be.
However, the current COVID-19 vaccination campaign might signal that at least some matches will be on tap for large audiences. After all, word has spread that stadiums will be open to the public. Still, vaccinations should be a condition for fans to be allowed to travel for Euro 2021.
What Industry Specialists Say
It has been rumored in recent weeks that Euro 2021 might be hosted in only a few countries, with the latest news even stating the possibility of the competition being held in only one city. It was Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who said that the entire game of Euro 2021 might be played in London.
The Chair of the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee (DCMS) Julian Knight also stated his doubts that Euro 2021 will be smoothly held in all the planned venues, especially during a pandemic like this.
“I’m beginning to doubt whether the summer rescheduled Euro 2021 will be executed as planned across twelve nations”, said Knight.
The official schedule shows that London’s Wembley Stadium is set to host a total of seven matches at the tournament, among which are the semi-finals and final.
How Further Alterations Will Affect Euro 2021
Postponing the competition once more or canceling it entirely will amount to a financial disaster. This is why UEFA will absolutely need to revamp its plan for the summer final schedule. Even though there is little chance of that, some sources claim that the European tournament will be played behind closed doors without the crowd and fans, and staged in a single venue instead of 12.
It is possible that we will see again what was implemented in the last season of the Champions League and Europa League, namely strictly enforced COVID-secure bubbles for each competing national team in one country. These two competitions were carried out in a single country, the Champions League in Portugal and the Europa League in Germany.
So far, no listed cities have plans to withdraw as hosts despite the pandemic, and UEFA seems to be ready to face any heavy claims for compensations in case further changes are made. Instructions were given to host cities to regulate stadium conditions and capacities to comply with health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As restlessness is increasing and clock is ticking for Euro 2021, the city plans might not be necessary anymore. In a statement, UEFA said that more flexibility is needed in the matter of arrangements for the championship in an effort to adapt to the various circumstances and challenges faced by host cities.
COVID-19 Vaccine Brings New Hope
Despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, we still have hope with vaccines against COVID-19 being shipped out around the globe. Ceferin is optimistic that things will improve as time approaches the tournament.
The vaccines are expected to prevent or at least minimize the potential for transmission of the virus. According to the UEFA president, concessions need to be given to the hosts so that they can arrange proper plans for the months of June and July.
Football matches always require the presence of supporters, and the Euro event is no exception. Supporters are the ones who make the stadiums more festive, so without them it is certain that the soccer championship won’t be complete. For this reason, UEFA needs to do something so that fans can return to the stadiums safely.
Sooner or later we will know more details on how Euro 2021 will work out this summer. We only need to wait for the plans prepared by the host countries to execute the event. It will be rather interesting to see how the situation is developing amidst the pandemic.
Currently, Euro 2021 matches are scheduled to take place in Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Rome, Glasgow, Copenhagen, Bucharest, Baku, Budapest, Munich and St Petersburg.
Important Changes to Venues of Some UEFA EURO 2020 Matches KEY POINTS TO NOTE: Matches’ capacity in Munich are stated to hold a minimum of