Italy says Euro 2020 opener in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will be at least 25% full

April 14 – Any fears UEFA may have had over needing to reschedule the opening game of this summer’s delayed European Championship in Rome have been eased after the Italians gave the all-clear for a limited number of fans to attend.

Last Friday UEFA gave Rome, Munich, Bilbao and Dublin an extended deadline of April 19 to remain host cities by providing guarantees on fans being allowed into games.

Italy has registered over 115,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 since February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain.

Fans have been banned from matches for the majority of the past year, apart from a brief period shortly after the start of the season when up to 1,000 spectators were allowed into stadiums. But authorities have now confirmed that Rome’s Olympic Stadium can have at least 25% capacity for the Euros.

“Italy and Rome are on board. The government approval of the public’s presence at Rome’s Euro 2020 matches is wonderful news that we will immediately pass on to UEFA,” federation president Gabriele Gravina said in a statement. “The message that the government sends to the country is one of great confidence and extraordinary vision.”

Rome is due to host three group games – including the tournament’s opening match between Italy and Turkey on June 11 – plus one quarter-final.

Dublin and Bilbao are now the biggest concerns to UEFA who will have to work fast to reschedule matches if the pair of them are unable to commit to at least some fans being able to attend games.

A final decision on whether they and Munich can remain hosts will be made at UEFA’s executive committee meeting on April 19, one day before the full congress. All the other eight cities have agreed to allow a certain number of spectators in.

Despite the green light from Italy, the government’s chief scientific advisor  is still not convinced enough time has been given to make a firm decision.

Franco Locatelli told state broadcaster RAI that UEFA’s April 19 deadline was unrealistic because it was hard to predict the spread of Covid-19.

“It would be desirable for UEFA to give a little more time because it is difficult to make a forecast for an event that will take place in two months’ time,” said Locatelli. “If we could wait until the start of May, it would be more feasible to make a forecast more consistent with the evolution of the epidemic.”

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