Have England Lost The Euros? By Dan Smith
It’s not often I agree with UEFA, but I think they are doing the right thing by putting contingency plans in place, regarding next summer’s Euros being held in 12 different countries.
The European Championships have already been postponed by 12 months and the Governing body have made it clear it’s not an option to do that again.
UEFA are like the spoilt child who won’t cancel their party no matter what. At least though, they have finally accepted that if they want their party, they are going to have to compromise and have a watered-down version.
Quite simply you couldn’t have picked a worse year to stage a tournament across the whole of Europe.
Obviously for the nations selected to host games it would have been a great comfort and escapism at a difficult time, to be able to see your country play in competition on home soil.
England are due to host group games, the knockout stages and the final itself. For such a football-mad nation, it would be something else the UK has to sacrifice at a time we are all having to adjust.
Thousands not flocking to London would also be another blow to our economy. Yet as we enter a second national lockdown it’s seeming unlikely that in less than a year, we can be welcoming people from all over the world.
Boris Johnson himself has said it won’t be till May till he hears ideas about fans being allowed into stadiums. That’s just a couple of months before the Euros start.
While each leader will have their own restrictions on how many (if any) can be allowed in venues, it’s not going to be the version of the Championships many envisaged.
Even if stats on the virus improve, you would want caution. It would be counterproductive for any nation to be handling the pandemic, then opening its doors for peeps from around the world to be bringing in the virus. The juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.
Football is a beautiful game, but it is just a game. We can’t ask people to not visit families, not go to funerals, to stay at home, etc, all to make the world a safer place long term, just to then travel from London – Paris – Dublin – Moscow – Baku, etc, putting 60,000 people from different countries inside stadia. So it makes sense for those in power to think of a plan B.
To me, if you insist on the event having to go ahead, do what you did in the Champions League and have all players in one place in one city.
That’s what you normally do for the Euros anyway, so if you can’t have fans involved what would the point be of 12 different hosts?
Keeping it down to one keeps everyone in their bubbles and reduces chances of making contact with others.
Gareth Southgate was naive recommending that England could be those hosts.
Of course we have the stadiums where it would be easy to organise fixtures, but surely the criteria will be a place where the Covid infection rate is low?
It would have to be a nation though with the facilities to host an event with such short notice, ruling out a Finland, Iceland, etc.
Due to hosting the last World Cup, Russia are seen as a possibility, although some politicians feel Vladimir Putin has been misleading with certain data. Russia’s borders have been closed since March but not for athletes. So a month-long event with zero fans they could easily handle.
Sadly, next year’s Euros is increasingly looking like the ‘new normal’.
Football with fake noise being played into our TV screens.