Amsterdam and Bilbao commit to fans at Euro 2020

Amsterdam and Bilbao commit to fans at Euro 2020

MANCHESTER, England: Amsterdam and Bilbao have committed to allowing fans to attend Euro 2020 games in June ahead of UEFA's deadline for host cities to submit their plans on Wednesday.

European soccer's governing body has asked all 12 host cities to come up with their plans for fan capacity at venues for the tournament which kicks off on June 11.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said that all host cities must guarantee some fan presence, saying they will not play games behind closed doors, although the pandemic has made it tough for organisers to give definitive commitments.

A final decision on the venues is expected at UEFA's congress on April 20.

Euro 2020 was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most of Europe's football has taken place without fans for the past year.

The Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) said that "at least 12,000 spectators" will be able to attend matches at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

"Depending on developments surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic in June, there is a chance that more fans will be allowed inside the stadium. This ambition has been expressed jointly by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB), the Dutch cabinet and the Amsterdam city council," the KNVB said in a statement.

The exact amount of fans allowed in will be determined at a later stage by the Dutch government, which on Wednesday warned that a large COVID-19 outbreak in the weeks before the tournament could still mean that the audience would be reduced.

All spectators will need to test negative for COVID-19 shortly before the game, and will have to adhere to a strict safety protocol inside the stadium.

Bilbao's city hall has told organisers UEFA it is ready to stage Euro 2020 games at the San Mames stadium at 25per cent capacity if coronavirus infection rates drop below current levels.

A statement from the city hall on Wednesday that the Spanish soccer federation was due to send its plans for the rescheduled tournament to the organising body later in the day and had committed to 25per cent capacity of the ground.

The move means around 13,000 supporters could attend the matches as long as infection rates, hospital occupancy and intensive care unit occupancy levels are below the minimum requirements set out by the local health authority.

Spain are due to play all three of their group stage matches at the 53,000-capacity San Mames, which is also set to host a last-16 match.

The Irish capital of Dublin appears the most at risk of not being able to offer a guarantee of fan presence at games with Prime Minister Micheal Martin saying it would be "very challenging".

On Tuesday, the Italian federation (FIGC) said their government would "identify the best solutions" to allow fans to be at Rome's Olympic Stadium although it said a government committee would make an evaluation of the pandemic situation and "examine the possibility of providing a limited presence of the public".

(Additional reporting by Bart Meijer in Amsterdam; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters