January 29, 2023


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How ready are the stadiums to welcome crowds in 2021?

After Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown, Britons began looking forward to some semblance of normal life as the summer approaches. For football fans, there is growing optimism that they will be able to attend postponed Euro 2020 matches that are due to be hosted at Wembley, with crowds in attendance. 

Under the roadmap, life will be “as close to normal as possible” by June 21, which could include capacity crowds at stadiums. England are due to play the Czech Republic at Wembley on June 22, with one round-of-16 game on June 26 and the semi-finals and final hosted in London on July 6, 7 and 11.

But what about the rest of Europe? With the ‘third wave’ sweeping the continent, restrictions vary greatly by country. For example, crowds have been present at sporting events in Russia for many months, whereas in the Netherlands, crowds have been banned since early in 2020, with little prospect of them returning any time soon.

Uefa insists that Euro 2020 will go ahead in its scheduled format, which involves 12 host cities in 11 different nations, despite infection rates varying significantly. However, the decision about crowds at matches rests entirely with local governments. 

Uefa say they are waiting proposals from governing football associations from each host country about their projected crowd sizes, which will be submitted in April.

When contacted by Telegraph Sport, a spokesman for Uefa said the organisation remained committed to allowing each host city as much opportunity as possible to get fans back into stadiums. 

The spokesman reiterated a January statement from Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin in which he said: “Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euros as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums.”

Much will depend on the vaccine rollout across various nations, which puts Britain in an advantageous position. Almost 27 per cent of the population have received a vaccine, behind only Israel and the UAE worldwide. By contrast, every other host nation has yet to offer a vaccine to more than 90 per cent of their populations.

Telegraph Sport has examined the current coronavirus restrictions and vaccination situation for every host city:

Amsterdam, Holland

  • Current restrictions: Lockdown measures are currently in place until at least April 20. These include a nightly curfew, stay at home orders, a two-person outdoor gathering limit, closure of public venues including sport stadiums and hotels and a non-essential foreign travel ban. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 12.24 percent (The Dutch have so far vaccinated 2.1 million of their 17.3 million people)

  • Can I travel there?: For UK nationals who are not Dutch residents, there is currently a blanket travel ban in force, with all passenger flights and ferries banned from transiting between the two countries. This policy was due to remain in effect until at least February 22 but has since been extended.

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match. 

Baku, Azerbaijan

  • Current restrictions: Stay at home requirements were lifted in the Azeri capital on January 25, meaning residents no longer required Government permission to leave their homes. Hotels and most local businesses are open, though the Baku Metro remains closed and all mass events are currently cancelled. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 5 per cent (Latest figures show 510,420 have been vaccinated of a total 10 million people)

  • Can I travel there?: Though the land borders remain closed, there are a limited number of flights available to Baku. However, e-visas are no longer being issued. Those wishing to travel must get dispensation from the Azeri embassy in their country of origin. 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one quarter-final. 

Bilbao, Spain

  • Current restrictions: Local curfew restrictions are in force from 10pm-6am in the Basque region. However, restaurants and other non-essential businesses are open at 50 per cent capacity, with a ‘rule of six’ in force. The wearing of masks is mandatory in all public spaces. Mass gatherings are banned. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 15.2 per cent (7 million out of 47 million have received a jab)

  • Can I travel there?: The Spanish Government currently has a ban on travel to and from the UK for all non-residents. This will be lifted on March 30. 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match

Bucharest, Romania

  • Current restrictions: An 11pm-5am curfew is in force. Hotels are open, though some facilities such as pools remain closed, while the sale of food is restricted to room service. Mass public gatherings are currently banned though the Government brought in an exception for epiphany in January, when crowds of up to 3,000 could gather for outdoor services. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 14.86 per cent (2.9 million of Romania’s 19.4 million residents have received a jab to date)

  • Can I travel there?: Flights from the UK resumed on January 4 after a temporary travel ban. Those who have received both vaccine doses will not be required to self-isolate on arrival. However, a non-essential travel entry ban remains in effect. 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match.

Budapest, Hungary

  • Current restrictions: A nationwide 8pm-5am curfew is in place. All leisure facilities and restaurants are closed, and hotels may only receive business guests, no tourists. In Budapest, face masks are mandatory in all public places. All mass gatherings are currently banned. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 27 per cent (2.6 million of Hungary’s 10 million people have received a vaccine)

  • Can I travel there?: Business travellers and Hungarian residents are the only people allowed entry, and all must fulfil a mandatory five-day quarantine and return two negative PCR tests. However, land and air borders remain open.

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match.

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Current restrictions: Non-essential retail is shut, including restaurants and bars, with restrictions to last until at least April 5. Gatherings are limited to five people and mass gatherings are banned. Hotels are open, though they must adhere to strict hygiene guidelines. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 18 per cent (1.05 million Danes have received a vaccine, in a country of 5.8 million)

  • Can I travel there?: Travel is banned for non-Danish residents and those without a ‘special worthy purpose’. All arrivals must go through a 10-day quarantine (reduced to four if they take a PCR test that comes back negative). 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match.

Dublin, Ireland

  • Current restrictions: A level 5 lockdown is currently in place in Ireland until at least April 5, with schools and non-essential retail closed and stay at home orders in effect. Mass gatherings are banned and people must not travel further than 5km from home. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 15.35 per cent (760,168 out of five million have been vaccinated)

  • Can I travel there?: Ireland’s borders remain open, though a negative Covid PCR test is required 72 hours before entry and a mandatory 14-day quarantine is in effect. Travel is currently banned from some sub-Saharan African countries.

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match.

Glasgow, Scotland

  • Current restrictions: In announcing her roadmap for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon revealed that Scotland will return to a four-level tier system as of the final week in April, with non-essential retail permitted under level 3 and limited crowds permitted at outdoor events in level 1. Prior to the lockdown, Glasgow was in level 4. Stay-at-home orders will be lifted April 2.

  • Current vaccine numbers: 49 per cent (nearly 2.7 million have been vaccinated, of a total of 5.5 million people)

  • Can I travel there?: Under current guidelines, movement over the English-Scottish border is banned for non-essential travel. Sturgeon announced that travel restrictions will be in place for some time” even after the tier system returns. International travellers must present a negative PCR test and quarantine for 10 days on arrival

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 match.

London, England

  • Current restrictions: Boris Johnson has unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown. While some restrictions will remain in place until June 21, there is hope that fans of up to 10,000 will be able to gather at mass events from May. There is an outside possibility that capacity crowds will be at Wembley for the tournament. 

  • Current vaccine numbers: 50.2 per cent (28.3 million out of 56 million people)

  • Can I travel there?: All arrivals must complete a 10-day quarantine and take two PCR tests. Those arriving from red list countries must do so at mandatory quarantine hotels. 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one round-of-16 matches, both semi-finals, final.

Munich, Germany

  • Current restrictions: All non-essential shops, including restaurants, are closed until at least April 18. Work from home is strongly encouraged. A 10pm-5am curfew is currently in effect in Bavaria.

  • Current vaccine numbers: 15.33 per cent (12.85 million of 83 million have received a jab)

  • Can I travel there?: All non-German residents coming from the UK are currently banned from entering, although borders remain open for Schengen-area residents. A negative PCR test is expected on entry and a mandatory 10-14 day quarantine is in effect.

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one quarter-final.

Rome, Italy

  • Current restrictions: Inter-regional travel is banned until at least February 25 and a 10pm-5am curfew is in place. No region in Italy is in ‘yellow zone’ where restrictions are at their most lenient and no relaxation is expected until at least April 30. Restaurants, theatres, stadiums and cinemas are closed.

  • Current vaccine numbers: 15.57 per cent (9.41 million of 60 million have received a jab)

  • Can I travel there?: Entry from the UK is banned for all non-essential trips until at least April 6. A PCR test 72 hours before – and 48 hours after – arrival are mandatory. Those coming from the UK must also complete a 14-day quarantine 

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one quarter-final.

St. Petersburg, Russia

  • Current restrictions: Russia is in the middle of a phased reopening. Hotels are open as are restaurants and other non-essential businesses. Limited crowds can attend sporting events.

  • Current vaccine numbers: 7.26 per cent (10.6 million of Russia’s 144.5 million people have received a jab)

  • Can I travel there?: Those arriving form the UK who are not Russian residents are banned from entry until at least April 16. Those arriving from elsewhere must present a negative PCR test on arrival.

  • Matches to host: Three group stage matches, one quarter-final.

Vaccination figures taken from Our World In Data on 29/3/21