Euro 2020 will be exempt from lockdown rules if Freedom Day delayed

EXCLUSIVE: ALL Euro 2020 matches at Wembley will be given an exemption from lockdown rules even if Prime Minister Boris Johnson delays Freedom Day – with a minimum of supporters 22,500 allowed in

  • Rumours that Freedom Day on June 21 could be delayed have raised questions about attendance at sports events at the end of this month and in early July
  • But Sportsmail understands that the government will not row back on commitments to UEFA that every game will have at 22,500 fans in the stadium
  • The first three group matches have been designated pilot events  to test covid certification measures and are allowed the higher number of fans as a result
  • If covid restrictions are lifted the attendance for the latter stages could still rise 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.

Every Euro 2020 match at Wembley will be given an exemption from lockdown rules even if Prime Minister Boris Johnson delays Freedom Day.

Rumours of a possible delay to the final stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, which would see social distancing restrictions lifted, have raised questions about what will happen at sports events in the coming weeks.

Sports are desperate to increase capacities above the current limit of 10,000 spectators, or 25 per cent of stadium capacities at smaller venues with major events, including Wimbledon just weeks away.

June 21 has been named as the earliest date social distancing will be dropped

To date, only those fixtures that have been part of the government’s Events Research Programme have been allowed more than 10,000 fans. 

The Football Association was required to give UEFA a commitment that at least 22,500 fans will attend each of the eight games hosted in London.

However, if Freedom Day on June 21 is pushed back it is expected that the country will remain bound by the existing restrictions, with the limits on crowd numbers still in place.

But Sportsmail understands the government will not row back on its commitment to UEFA and the round of 16 matches, semi-finals and finals will all be allowed to go ahead with at least 22,500 spectators.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap created the possibility of full houses after June 21

If restrictions ease, attendances could still increase in the latter stages of the competition. 

The first three matches, in Group D, when England play Croatia on June 13, Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic on June 22, have been designated test events and are allowed 22,500 fans, who will trial covid certification measures.

Fully vaccinated fans will be allowed to use the NHS app to gain entry in the first time vaccine passports have been used at a major UK sporting event – everyone else will have to take a test to enter to prove they are Covid free. 

England fans will have a numerical advantage when Scotland visit Wembley in Euro 2020

An announcement on Freedom Day is due on Monday, but there is a growing sense that restrictions may stay in place, due to concerns over the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus. 

Sports governing bodies held crunch talks with government officials today to push the case for covid certification to save the first few weeks of Britain’s Great Summer of Sport.

Retaining limits on attendance would directly impact Wimbledon, which is currently limited to a capacity of 10,000 fans a day compared to a usual attendance of 40,000, and constrain capacities at Twenty20 and ODI cricket internationals against Sri Lanka.

There has been huge interest in the Wimbledon after last year’s event was cancelled

Sportsmail reported on Wednesday that the All-England Club could double its capacity for this year’s tournament if covid certification is allowed. It is believed the club needs a decision within the next two days to make the arrangements for the event that commences on June 28.

Beyond the direct impact of a delay, plans for other huge events would also be plunged into uncertainty with Twenty20 and ODI cricket matches scheduled against Pakistan early next month, and The Open Golf, Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and British Grand Prix at Silverstone all due to take place in mid-July.

The meeting between sport and government came on the day that 18,000 fans returned to Edgbaston for the first day of the second test against New Zealand as part of the latest pilot event. 

At 70 per cent capacity, it is the first time crowds have been allowed to break social distancing limits at a sports event, since March last year. The safety of the spectators is being secured by requiring all attendees to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test for Covid on arrival.

In addition, Edgbaston has developed an app, which allows fans to order food and drink from their seats and monitor hotspot areas of crowds, in order to avoid them when collecting their victuals or going to the toilet. 

England’s Summer of Sport

Key events after 21 June – the earliest date all restrictions can be lifted:

11 June-11 July: Football – Euro 2020 in various countries, including seven matches at Wembley

28 June-11 July: Tennis – Wimbledon

23, 24 & 26 June: Cricket – England v Sri Lanka T20s 

29 June, 1 & 4 July: Cricket – England v Sri Lanka ODIs

8, 10 & 13 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan ODIs

13 July: Athletics – Diamond League: Anniversary Games at London Stadium

15-18 July: Golf – The Open at Royal St George’s

16, 18 & 20 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan T20s

17 July: Rugby League – Betfred Challenge Cup final at Wembley

18 July: Formula 1 – British Grand Prix at Silverstone

4 Aug-14 Sept: Cricket – England v India five Test series 

6 August: Football – EFL season commences 

14 August: Football – Premier League season commences 

19 August: Cricket – Royal London Cup final

21 August: Cricket – The Hundred women’s and men’s finals

18 September: Cricket – Vitality T20 Blast semi-finals and final 

28 Sept-1 Oct: Cricket – Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s

3 October: Athletics – London Marathon

9 October: Rugby League – Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford

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