Euro 2020

Why It’s Not All About the Football

Some people are suggesting that the recent surges and drop-offs in Covid infections in England and Scotland can be pinned on the football. The idea is that infections rose as fans mixed during the Euro 2020 championship and declined once Scotland was eliminated and England lost in the final.

It’s true that the summer surges in England and Scotland broadly coincided with when their teams were active in the tournament. Scotland’s new daily infections dropped off a few days after its exit on June 22nd, and England’s a few days after their loss to Italy on July 11th. Also, the male to female ratio of new infections briefly went up during the tournament.

However, that’s about where the coincidences end. The fact that the decline has continued for weeks in Scotland suggests it’s not a short term effect.

Perhaps more important, though, is the different shape of the curves in the two countries during June when both teams were still in the competition.

Be a “Team Player” and Get the Jab, England Fans at Wembley Told

England fans are being told to get a jab at the Wembley vaccination centre when attending the Euro 2020 final later today, amid criticism from Tory backbenchers of the “ludicrous” pressuring of young Brits to get vaccinated. An NHS advert will also be shown during the TV coverage of the match to encourage more people to take the vaccine. ITV News has the story.

The NHS’s top doctor has urged fans to be a “team player” by getting their vaccination before the game if they have not already had one.

Fans turning up to Wembley will be able to get protected against Covid by dropping into the centre, which is minutes away from the famous arch.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, is running throughout the weekend with hundreds of sites offering a walk-in service, so whether you will be cheering on England or have other plans it couldn’t be easier to grab a jab.

“The vaccine is England’s best defence, protecting yourself, your family and your loved ones against Covid, so be a team player and get both your vaccinations in what is a game of two jabs.”

Wembley is not the only football stadium running walk-in vaccination clinics, with Millwall’s The New Den and Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park also joining the national team effort to help inoculate the population during the pandemic. …

The NHS will also air an advert during TV coverage of the Euro 2020 final on Sunday night to encourage people who have not been vaccinated to get their jab.

Worth reading in full.

Pub Takings on Match Days Massively Lower Than Pre-Lockdown Levels

Around 17 million pints would be sold in pubs on Sunday during the Euro 2020 final if it wasn’t for the continuation of social distancing restrictions. Instead, nearly 13 million are expected to be sold, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), as pubs across the country struggle to break even. The Guardian has the story.

Billed as the closest thing to being in the stadium itself, sales in bars or pubs showing sport are usually 200-300% higher on big match days during a normal year. However, capacity constraints mean although sales during Euro 2020 are up about 60% on match days, that is only in comparison with poor takings over the past Covid-hit [lockdown-hit] year.

“We are seeing an uplift in drinks sales on match days but because of capacity constraints it is nowhere near as much as it would usually be,” said Kate Nicholls, the Chief Executive of industry trade body U.K. Hospitality. As a rule, pubs were only taking 70% of their usual sales which was not enough to break even, she said.

In Norwich, Dawn Hopkins said her pub, the Rose Inn, will be full, although at the moment that means just 30 customers. “We are obviously fully booked,” she said. “I’ve been turning away people for weeks who want to watch the football but social distancing and the need to be seated limits our capacity. I think everybody’s grateful to be trading again but it’s still very difficult.”

The BBPA estimates nearly 13 million pints will be sold on Sunday, with 7.1 million during the match itself. That total would be nearer 17 million but for Covid restrictions, which mean venues are at 50-60% of normal capacity.

Fuller’s, a pub owner in London and the south-east, said most of its 209 venues were fully booked on Sunday but it could have “taken a lot more” were it not for the “disappointing” restrictions. “It has brought people together though and pubs are the next best thing to being there,” the company added.

Greg Mulholland, of the Campaign for Pubs organisation, said the Euros had brought welcome extra trade but pubs were struggling, with table service challenging and costly. Some landlords said they had been warned by licensing officials they could be fined if fans got carried away, and he hoped the authorities took a “common-sense approach”.

Worth reading in full.

England Fans Told They Won’t be Allowed into Quarter-Final Match Stadium – Even if They Have a Ticket

Officials have gone a step further in preventing England fans from seeing the Euro 2020 quarter-final match against Ukraine in Rome this weekend, telling supporters who have recently arrived in Italy that they won’t be allowed in the stadium – even if they have a ticket. Sky News has the story.

A statement issued by the Italian Embassy in London on Thursday said that due to current coronavirus restrictions in the country, “anybody who has been in the U.K. in the previous 14 days, irrespective of their nationality or residency, will not be admitted to the stadium, even if they have a ticket”.

Italy is on the U.K.’s “Amber List”, and all U.K. arrivals in Italy currently have to isolate for five days.

The statement continued: “Only those who can prove that they have arrived in Italy at least six days previously, have observed five days of quarantine, and have taken a post-quarantine Covid test with a negative result will be allowed into the Stadio Olimpico.

“Being exempt from quarantine in Italy for any legal reason, will not translate into permission to enter the stadium. For example, travellers who are transiting through Italy for less than 36 hours or visiting briefly for work reasons are not required to quarantine, but they will not be permitted to enter the stadium.”

Anyone found to be not in quarantine “will be punished”, officials said.

“Fans based in the U.K. should therefore not travel to Italy to attend the match on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome,” they added. …

The fresh travel warning comes after the FA said on Wednesday that it “will not be selling any tickets via the England Supporters Travel Club for this fixture” due to U.K. and Italian travel restrictions.

Worth reading in full.

England Fans Told Not to Travel to Rome for Quarter-Final Match

Thousands of UEFA officials have been given a free pass to avoid travel quarantine rules when travelling to the U.K. to watch Euro 2020 matches, but fans are given no such leeway. England supporters have been told not to travel to Rome this weekend to watch the quarter-final match against Ukraine, with a minister saying in a teacher-to-pupil-like fashion stay home and “challenge [yourselves to make the players] hear us from Rome”. Sky News has more.

The Three Lions beat Germany last night to set up a showdown in Rome with Ukraine but travel restrictions mean most England fans will not be able to soak up the atmosphere and the summer heat in the Eternal City.

Italy is on the U.K.’s “Amber List”, and all U.K. arrivals in Italy currently have to isolate for five days.

Speaking to Sky News, Government Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan called on England fans to “watch from home and to cheer on the team as loudly as you can”.

“Obviously it is very difficult not to smile just to see all those wonderful flags waving, it just makes you so proud of our team doing so well last night,” she said.

“But really, the ask is to watch from home and to cheer on the team as loudly as you can.

“I think the challenge is can they hear us from Rome? And I’m sure we’ll take up that opportunity to be as supportive as we can of our amazing England team.” …

Those visiting Italy must have proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in the 48 hours before they travel.

Upon arrival, all passengers from the U.K. must fill out a passenger locator form before completing five days of isolation.

If they have proof of a negative Covid test, a traveller can be released after those five days.

However, this means even if fans board a flight to Italy on Wednesday, they will still have to isolate until at least Sunday likely having to watch the game from a hotel room.

The Government’s travel rules mean fans would have to isolate again upon returning to the U.K..

Worth reading in full.

If any England fans are planning to make the trip, and have thought of a cunning way to get into the stadium, please email us here.

UEFA Officials Allowed to Visit U.K. Without Quarantine

The chances of Brits holidaying abroad this year are slim at best. But the Government, while enforcing severe restrictions on its own citizens, has decided to allow almost three thousand football “VIPs” to attend the Euro 2020 finals without having to abide by quarantine rules. The Telegraph has the story.

Ministers are facing a backlash from senior Tory MPs over the decision to exempt UEFA officials, politicians and sponsors from having to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival in the U.K.

It comes days after it was reported that UEFA had threatened to move the matches to Budapest unless ministers relented on the quarantine rules. Sources said the U.K. would have lost out if it had failed to compromise.

While the agreement still needs final sign-off by public health officials, sources told the Telegraph the exemption was due to commence on July 5th – a day before the first semi-final at Wembley. It will remain in place until after the final, which is being played on July 11th. 

The number of VIPs due to travel to the U.K. is expected to be in the “low thousands”, although Government sources say many will only remain for one match.

The exemption was personally negotiated by Dan Rosenfield, Mr Johnson’s Chief of Staff, who is an avid football fan and supports Manchester United. The details emerged after ministers announced on Tuesday that the capacity at Wembley would be increased to 75%, enabling 60,000 fans to attend the semi-finals and final.

The VIPs will be required to provide a negative pre-departure test and undergo testing during their stay. They will be allowed to stay in tournament hotels and travel between matches and official meetings, but will be told to limit their movements outside these permitted activities. It was unclear whether they will be allowed to dine at restaurants. 

David Davis, a former Cabinet minister,  said the decision on VIPs was “morally inconsistent”, while another MP said it was “absurd and indefensible”. 

British holidaymakers currently have to isolate at home for 10 days and pay for at least two PCR tests if they visit “Amber List” countries, from which the vast majority of the football VIPs will be coming.

On Thursday, ministers will consider exempting fully vaccinated Britons from quarantine on their return from amber destinations, but the change is not expected until after the Euro finals. Holidaymakers are also likely to still face expensive PCR tests in order to track variants.

Worth reading in full.

Government to Exempt 2,500 Football Officials from Travel Quarantine Rules so Euro Finals Can Take Place at Wembley

Thousands of Brits had their holiday plans ruined when Portugal was demoted to the travel “Amber List” earlier this month. But now the Government is considering making 2,500 football officials exempt from quarantine rules so that the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final can take place in England. The Guardian has the story.

The proposal would exempt about 2,500 UEFA and FIFA officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters from the quarantine restrictions faced by ordinary travellers, according to the Times.

On Monday, the Government announced a four-week delay to the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England in order to allow more people to be vaccinated to combat the Delta coronavirus variant.

The only teams playing in the tournament on England’s “Green List” of countries that do not require isolation on arrival are Wales and Scotland.

All others are on the “Amber List” bar Turkey, which is on the “Red List”. Travellers arriving from Red List countries must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days while those from amber list countries must self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can get released from quarantine early if they pay for a private test, at least five days after arrival, and it comes back negative.

Asked how it would be fair for VIPs to have a different set of rules from the general public, the Policing and Crime Minister, Kit Malthouse, said: “I haven’t seen the detail of that particular proposal. One of the things we are trying to do though is obviously accommodate the Euros as much as we possibly can.

“And while much of the concern around coronavirus regulations has been about whether one situation is fair compared with another situation what we’re generally trying to do is make difficult decisions about the path of a virus, at the same time as trying to enable the ordinary operation of very special events like the Euros and, no doubt, health professionals and the immigration professionals at the Home Office and then the senior ministers who make a decision will take all of that into account as we proceed.

“And look, it’s a great competition, we’re very lucky to have it, we’re trying to make it happen with as much kind of satisfaction all round as we possibly can and that will be taken into account in the decision over the next few days.”

So what about everyone else, Boris?

Worth reading in full.

Foreign Fans Visiting Britain for Euro 2020 Games Will Not Be Exempt From Travel Rules

There are currently no plans for foreign fans visiting Britain for Euro 2020 games to be exempt from travel restrictions, meaning those coming from countries on the Government’s “Amber List” will have to quarantine for 10 days. The Mail has the story.

Tournament Director Martin Kallen revealed on Friday that talks between UEFA and the Government were ongoing to allow those key matches to be attended by foreign spectators without the need for a lengthy quarantine period.

But a Government spokesperson said: “Overseas ticket holders will be able to watch Euro 2020 matches at Wembley but will be subject to travel restrictions and requirements in England and at their place of origin, including testing and quarantining. There are no plans to change travel exemptions for ticket holders.

“We continue to work very closely with the FA and UEFA to support a fantastic Euros and to communicate the latest travel guidance to fans. We will keep this under review over the course of the tournament.”

Wembley will host the semi-finals and the final along with two last-16 matches.

The U.K. has the toughest entry requirements of any of the host countries, requiring visitors from Amber List countries to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Travel between the other host nations – particularly other European Union countries – is largely possible with proof of a recent negative PCR test.

Kallen said: “We are in a dialogue with the Government, we are looking at what’s possible.

“The Prime Minister and the British Government said June 21st would be the date when in principle everything should go back to normal. And if it goes back to normal, what will the rules say for foreigners to come to the U.K. who are not on a business trip?

“We are in a dialogue and we hope that we can achieve something if the situation allows it, that something could happen on that side.” …

Government sources had previously said it was unlikely that the current restrictions will be eased at any stage of the tournament with the country at such a decisive stage of its unlocking programme. 

Worth reading in full.