Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Euros are here and there

The Euros are here…. and there.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, they are being held across 11 countries, with numerous restrictions in place.

What would I do differently, personally I would not hold it. So that's the end of this article.

But, as it is here what would I have done differently?

Well, let me tell you about how I planned my tournament.

It all started back in July 2019 that is when you were first able to apply for tickets to the games.

Normally I would look to visit every venue, but I was not happy with the format of holding the tournament across twelve different countries. I prefer to be able to visit one country, and getting to know it during the tournament, I have in the past normally managed two weeks and in this time you can get a feel for the country.

So my initial application was
Sat 13th June, Copenhagen
Sun 14th June, Wembley
Tue 7th July, Wembley
Wed 8th July,  Wembley
Sun 12th  July, Wembley

The Euros are here and there


You might notice there is a large gap between the first two games and the last three. Well, I intended to have my two weeks in one country and had booked to go to Colombia to watch the Copa America, but that's another story.

The idea being with those initial dates that I would only need two afternoons off work, to attend the five games.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any tickets.

A friend contacted me to say that they had applied for tickets and been successful, and did I want them?

They were for Wembley on Friday the 19th. I explained that this would more than likely be an England game and that the opponents could be Scotland, (a long shot as this was August 2019). He agreed to sell, and I had my first tickets for the tournament. My flight to Colombia was booked for Sat 20th from Heathrow, so I intended to go straight from the match at Wembley to Heathrow.

Another friend got four tickets for the second semi-final at Wembley on 8th July, in the initial sale, and offered me one.

Then tickets were put on sale through the UEFA website and I managed to purchase the Wembley game on 14th June and the first semi-final on Tuesday 7th July.

So by the end of August 2019, I had three of the tickets I was initially after, plus the bonus of the Friday night fixture at Wembley.

In the meantime, I sorted out my trip to Colombia, flights, and accommodation all sorted.

21 Colombia v Peru, Medellin
22 Venezuela v Ecuador, Bogotá
23 Brasil v Qatar, Barranquilla
27 Ecuador v Peru, Medellin
28 Qatar v Venezuela, Cali

In February 2020, with the help of another friend, I managed to purchase a ticket for the Final on July 12th. So that was me all set for my summer of football for 2020.

Then as we all know, our world was turned upside down. The first international game that I missed due to the pandemic was Scotland's play-off for the Euros at the end of March.

Assessing the situation in the summer of 2020 I decided that it did not make sense to try to visit Colombia again in 2021. In the past, I have planned ahead, but all of a sudden everything has changed. There is no certainty.

I felt like a little child as the Government made decision after decision which I disagreed with. Why, why, why?

In November 2020 Scotland qualified for the finals. As a member of the Scottish supporters club, I was able to get a ticket for the three Scottish group games.

In May 2021, less than a month before the tournament was due to start UEFA held a ballot.

Due to Coronavirus capacities would be limited, and in many cases, UEFA had already sold more tickets than would now be allowed to attend. At around the same time, the Government in this country gave countries a colour code red/amber/green in relation to the regulations people would need to follow. For example, if you travelled to the UK from a red country you would need to quarantine for 10 days.

So why?
Why did they say that they were randomly cancelling people's tickets, that they had held and paid for, for almost two years?

Why?
At the same time were hospitality tickets available.

Why?
Were numerous countries offering prizes of tickets for the tournament.

If you remember the point of this is to say what I would do differently accepting that the tournament is going ahead.

Well, the first thing I would have done is have an official resale platform available for the sale of tickets. UEFA and FIFA say they have clamped down on ticket touting yet all the usual channels have tickets for all games available, some at exorbitant prices.

The fact that they have not done this has meant that supporters who are desperate for tickets are driven into the hands of touts and even worse scammers.

Some people are waiting for countries to relax their entry policies in the hope that they can travel. These things can change daily

Also right now people are undertaking Covid tests, if they receive a positive result the day before the game they will not be able to attend. They cannot legitimately sell their ticket back to UEFA. Where are they going to sell it? What happens to the price of the ticket (Unless it is for Baku!).

Why not?
Have a resale platform open.

Why not?
Revisit the way tickets were taken away from people in the ballot because of the reduced capacities. I lost my final and a semifinal ticket this way.

Bearing in mind we all understand that there are restrictions on travel. Why not use this to make the ticket sales match capacities.

Here in the U.K. Azerbaijan, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Spain are all listed as amber countries.

That means if anyone comes from one of these countries (which just happen to be all the other ones in the tournament) or even is someone in the U.K. travels to one of them. Then when they enter the U.K. they have to quarantine for 10 days.

UEFA have the database that means they could apply the restrictions to people who were in a position to travel to somewhere, thus reducing the risk to everyone.

Then they could make those (if there were any left) available to people who could attend without restrictions.

So by looking at things in this way you could make things safer for everyone.

Just now there will be people holding tickets for the later stages, who may not even have thought about these issues. If you are one of those let me know I can use your final ticket!

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Ross Clegg footballtravelswithross.wordpress.com

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