Wembley could be stripped of Euro 2020 final if Covid rules stop VIPs and overseas fans from attending

The Ferenc Puskas stadium in Budapest was at 65,000 capacity for Hungary vs Portugal. Credit: AP

Wembley could be stripped of the chance to host the Euro 2020 semi-final and final if overseas fans and VIPs are not exempted from strict Covid quarantine rules.

UEFA sources have refused to rule out moving the showpiece Euro 2020 games away from Wembley, with Budapest understood to be the first option if the games were switched.

European football’s governing body released a statement on Friday saying it was “confident” the final week would be held in London but added “there was always a contingency plan”.

Around 22,500 fans watched England's opening game inside Wembley Credit: AP

The statement set out how UEFA thought it might be possible to admit overseas spectators for the final week, using a method similar to that deployed at last month’s Champions League final in Portugal where fans flew in and out within 24 hours.

“At the moment, we are in discussions with the local authorities to try to allow fans of the participating teams to attend the matches, using a strict testing and bubble concept that would mean their stay in the UK would be less than 24 hours and their movements would be restricted to approved transport and venues only,” the statement read.

“We understand the pressures that the (British) Government face and hope to be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion of our discussions on the matter.”

UEFA is understood to be looking for a slightly different arrangement for VIPs and dignitaries – a ‘bubble to bubble’ concept similar to that in place for overseas media where individuals would travel only between designated venues such as the airport, their hotel and a match venue.

It believes this approach minimises the risk of infection.

Boris Johnson says his priority is keeping the country safe:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his "priority" was keeping the "country safe" but said the government would talk to UEFA and see if "sensible accommodations" could be made.

He added: "We’ll do what we have to do to keep the country safe from Covid.

"That’s obviously going to be our priority and we’ll be talking to UEFA about what they want and see if we can make some sensible accommodations but the priority obviously has to be public health."

The Ferenc Puskas stadium is at full capacity for Euro 2020 games Credit: AP

Budapest would be an attractive alternative option for UEFA, where matches are being played at 100% capacity at the Puskas Arena.

The British Government confirmed the final four Euro 2020 matches at Wembley could be played in front of crowds of at least 40,000 despite the decision to delay the final easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The games will be part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) which has been running since April and has been used to test various ways to get fans back into venues without the need for social distancing.