Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Testing Times at Euro 2020

Testing Times

The only certain thing in these times is that things are uncertain.

I am writing this whilst travelling from home in Nottingham to Glasgow, for the biggest game in Scottish history - a chance to progress from the group stage at an international tournament for the first time. 

The fixture is Scotland v Croatia in Group D. The last time we were in a qualifying group with them (for Brazil 2014) we did the double over them, and we are unbeaten in our last five games against them.

So imagine my surprise when I follow the instructions to display my Covid status and find this message.

Testing Times at Euro 2020
Testing Times at Euro 2020

That meant I now had to take a test and risk a positive result. (Something we are looking for today!) Thankfully my test was negative, and I was OK to attend.

The reason for the need to prove Covid Status was that the Government had declared the initial games at Wembley as part of their Events Research Programme. That allowed them to accommodate 22,500 spectators instead of the 10,000 allowed under their legislation.

As it was a test event I expected there to be some follow-up. For example, even just an email to ask if you were suffering any ill effects after attending, but nothing was received.

My next game was the next day at Hampden. This time there was no requirement to provide proof of Covid status, but the challenge this time was in getting there.

There were no police at the border and I continued my journey for my essential reason.

I returned to Wembley for the "Auld Enemy' game. This time my vaccination status was in order.

I have thought of researching all the entry requirements of travelling from one host country to another, but with the stringent quarantine requirements in the U.K. meaning that no matter what country I visit I would have to self isolate for 10 days upon my return. It really made it a pointless exercise.

Now though we are at the end of the Group stage and about to start the knockout rounds. This should be the time when I should am looking at hotels and flights for Budapest or Seville, but what's the point if you have to lose 10 days. Maybe if we get through we could play the last 16 game at Hampden.

Despite being frustrated at not being able to travel elsewhere I have been trying to get tickets for other games at Wembley.

Euro 2020
Stadium capacity under Covid constrictions

The Round of 16 game on Saturday looks attractive to me, however, tickets for this have not gone on sale, despite the fact that the game has been moved from Dublin to London. The game is five days away and tickets have not been made available.

The reality that I mentioned in my previous article is now starting to hit home. Wales are due to play in Amsterdam and their supporters have already been told they should not travel. Italy are due to travel to Wembley, whilst if England progress they could go to Rome.

Talks have been ongoing over the capacity for stadiums for the knockout rounds.

So far I have attended three games at this tournament. Just days before the tournament started it was announced that to attend events at Wembley you would need to provide proof of either a negative lateral flow test or that you had both Covid vaccinations at least 14 days before the game. Guess when I had my second jab. Yes exactly 14 days before England v Croatia.

Ross Clegg footballtravelswithross.wordpress.com

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