rfi.fr– European football’s governing body Uefa has underlined its desire for this summer’s European championships to be played in front of fans.
Twelve cities including London, Munich, Rome and Glasgow are scheduled to host the tournament between 11 June and 11 July.
Domestic leagues in England, Germany, Italy and Scotland are among those where spectators are not permitted into the ground as part of their government’s fight to restrict the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the organisers of the tournament – postponed from 2020 due to the first wave of the disease – say they are willing to penalise countries.
“If a city were to propose a closed-door scenario, the matches that were to be held there could be transferred to other cities that have the capacity to accommodate spectators,” Uefa told the French news agency AFP.
Last weekend, Uefa’s supremo, Aleksander Ceferin, told the Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti that the matches of the Euros would not be played in front of empty stands.
“All hosts will have to guarantee the presence of fans,” he insisted.
Even as the worldwide death toll from the disease rises towards three million, the dozen anointed cities have been given until 7 April to outline their plans for the presence of fans.
Top Uefa executives will then decide whether to cull cities refusing to let the fans in and allocate their games to other venues.
More than 6 billion people worldwide watched Euro 2016 during its month-long pageant through France. Similar TV viewing figures are expected for this year’s extravaganza.
Daniel Koch, Uefa’s health advisor, has said the pan-European tournament allows for flexibility.
“I think the Euros will be possible,” Koch told French TV station TMC. “People can take their tests but it is the individual countries that will decide their protocols.
“Public health isn’t just about epidemiology, it’s about everything that goes into public health … and that includes going to a football match.”
Baku, the venue for the 2019 Europa League final, Saint Petersburg, Budapest and Bucharest are on the list of sites along with Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Bilbao, and Dublin.