Football: 100 days before Euro, foggy at all levels

For UEFA, Kovid-19 has shaken off preparations for the first Pan-European tournament to be held between Dublin to Baku to Copenhagen, Bilbao and St Petersburg before the semi-finals and finals in London.

“The format was already expected to be complex, it is becoming almost unstable with the epidemic”, summarized with AUP LoPc Ravenel, scientific associate at the CIES Football Observatory in Neuchâtel.

Decided in March2020, the postponement of the tournament for the summer of 2019 was expected to improve health meanwhile: optimism was still in the final decline with the general revival of competitions and the arrival of vaccines.

But since January, multiplication of the Kovid-19 variants has led to doubts over the development of the epidemic and travel restrictions are once again disrupting the sports calendar.

Officially, according to UEFA, there is no reason to panic: the body maintains its initial plans and has only postponed, from March to early April, time to define “city by health”.

All in london?

In addition to the “bubbles” for teams and media, now required, four scenarios are considered: “100% spectators in the stadium, 50 to 100%, 20 to 30% or behind closed doors”.

Except that UEFA does not regulate the health development or policies of the twelve host countries, which may at any time ban entry into its territory or implement quarantine measures with the euro running smoothly.

Bavarian leader Marcus Sauder, whose regional capital is to host the Munich competition, also said “wait and see” on 20 January to see how the tournament could take place.

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“I personally believe that the early version, with competition scattered across Europe, is unlikely to see the light of day given the travel restrictions”, predicted Dominic Blanc, who held the conference in mid-January Presides over. ‘

For him, “the first version would be to play the euro in a single country, for example in Russia or in Germany”, or even “fall back on a single big city with enough stadiums to accommodate six groups”. , Such as London.

The London hypothesis resumed last week, via a Sunday Times article rejected by the British government, even as the United Kingdom is the European country most afflicted by the epidemic.

Because of this confusion, Budapest and Bucharest were born into intercourse by hosting delocalized matches of the Champions League, while Israel offered the European body to host “a few matches of the euro” in mid-February.

Die-hard supporter

“This is a chance for some countries to boast about their health management, but not a real downfall”, relates Loew Ravenel, for whom UEFA is trying to “wager” by playing time.

“Logically, a grouping in one place seems inevitable, but it would cause legal and economic difficulties. So UEFA takes risks to maintain its project to the end”, the researcher explains.

Public health expert Daniel Koch, a former “Mr Kovid” from Switzerland who became the euro’s health adviser, assured AFP that the pan-European format is also “an opportunity”: “If nothing else can be done in one country, then There are eleven others in which preparations are already underway ”.

But in this context, a “number” of supporters who “had not missed a contest for 20 years” have already canceled their tickets, explains Football Pro Europe (FSE) network general manager Ronan Evan.

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“It is possible that some countries will not allow non-resident ticket holders to enter, or that the latter will be authorized through a corridor: special flights, transportation from the airport to the bus to the stadium, etc.” .

“But these are not necessarily attractive things to all”, not to mention the more drastic measures: “If we were to be in Hungary on Wednesday and England on Sunday, it would be impossible to instigate both quarantines”.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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