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Sports

Dublin, Bilbao Euro 2020 games in doubt as UEFA extends fan deadline

  • The government has signalled the relaxing of restrictions will be staggered over a period of months after a hasty reopening in late 2020 contributed to a surge in cases.
Updated 08 Apr 2021

PARIS: Euro 2020 matches in Dublin and Bilbao are in doubt after Irish and Spanish football chiefs said Wednesday they were unable to give assurances over the presence of spectators, as UEFA extended to April 28 a deadline for host cities to submit fan number estimates.

Dublin was one of 12 cities that had originally until Wednesday to submit their plans to admit fans to European football's governing body for the delayed tournament, which runs from June 11 to July 11.

The Aviva Stadium in the Irish capital is scheduled to host three group matches and a last-16 game but there are growing doubts over the issue of fan attendance.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has warned that countries that fail to offer guarantees on supporter numbers could be dropped as hosts.

"The Football Association of Ireland, on advice and guidance from the government, has today notified UEFA that owing to the Covid-19 pandemic it is not in a position at this point to provide assurances on minimum spectator levels at the UEFA Euro 2020 matches due to be held in Dublin in June," the FAI said in a statement.

Ireland has been in a third coronavirus lockdown since late December but will take its first tentative step towards lifting curbs on Monday.

The government has signalled the relaxing of restrictions will be staggered over a period of months after a hasty reopening in late 2020 contributed to a surge in cases.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said it would be "impossible" to admit fans to games at Bilbao's San Mames stadium based on the Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Basque region.

"The requirement to have 60% of the population vaccinated in the Basque Country and the rest of Spain before June 14, or a figure that does not exceed 2% of (intensive care) beds occupied by Covid by the date of the matches, they are impossible objectives to fulfil and will result, therefore, in the absence of the public," the RFEF said in a statement.

Spanish media had reported Bilbao was planning to accommodate up to 13,000 fans inside its 53,000-capacity ground, due to host Spain's group games against Sweden, Poland and Slovakia and a round-of-16 match, if health conditions were met.