The plans for Euro 2021 are set to be changed, in a turn of events that could see several venues scrapped from the schedule. The tournament, which was set to take place as Euro 2020 in June this year was first postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the latest media reports suggest that the plan for Euro 2021 will be altered, with UEFA admitting that the competition cannot be held in its current format.
A report in The Sun revealed that UEFA bosses have admitted in private that the Euro 2020 plan cannot be replicated for the Euro 2021 edition. Initially, Euro 2020 was set to take place in 12 host cities. The 12 hosts cities in question were London, Munich, Rome, Baku, Saint Petersburg, Budapest, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Glasgow, Dublin and Copenhagen.
England boss Southgate fears changes to Euro 2020 format due to COVID-19: England manager Gareth Southgate said the format of next year's European Championship might have to be modified for it to take place successfully amid the COVID-19 pandemic. https://t.co/qIQIpTjkWo pic.twitter.com/m4x3qBtKG3— SA Breaking News (@SABreakingNews) October 10, 2020
However, the publication disclosed that the UEFA bosses realise that the tournament cannot go ahead as planned, with some venues set to be scrapped from the Euro 2021 schedule. Some of the venues under threat include Baku in Azerbaijan, with the country caught in a conflict with Armenia, while St Petersburg in Russia will be among the first names to be dropped as well. Another venue under threat is Bilbao in Spain after it struggled to sell tickets earlier.
While media reports suggest that UEFA is considering scrapping some venues for Euro 2021, recent comments made by the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport cast doubt on another tournament venue. London’s iconic Wembley Stadium is set to host as many as seven Euro 2021 games, including the final. However, UK Secretary Oliver Dowden recently admitted that he can’t guarantee the availability of the venue, given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With UEFA set to draw up a new Euro 2021 plan according to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, the body recognizes that the tournament can be held in a single country as well, with teams staying in bio-bubbles. However, there is no threat of Euro 2021 being cancelled, with UEFA set to receive millions from TV companies. UEFA also hopes that some fans will be able to attend Euro 2021, with the tournament set to be condensed to reduce travelling. The publication revealed that Euro 2021 could be limited to just four venues in a worst-case scenario.