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One year late շ deviated by the epidemic. Euro 2020 is finally starting


The European Football Championship would be an organizational achievement even without the coronavirus.

The competing 24 national teams are crossing the continent for the first time to hold matches in 11 stadiums from Glasgow to Baku. This is a change from the traditional model, where one or two countries host all the games.

To further complicate the situation, the epidemic forced the governing body of European football, Uefa postpone the tournament Limitations on the number of attending fans have led to a revision of the projected revenue reduction of at least € 300 million, mainly due to the loss of tickets and hospitality.

The action started on Friday at the “Stadio Olimpico” stadium in Rome, where Italy faced Turkey, the threat of the virus will cause logistical headaches during a month of viewing.

Ahead of Euro 2020, a worker organizes football products in one of the shops at Wembley Stadium © Neil Hall / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

The organizers of Euro-2020. The name of the tournament has not changed, as it has already been printed on millions of products, and has spent months negotiating with governments, football leaders and medical officials to agree on strict protocols for travel arrangements and staging meetings.

The result was an additional € 10 million in health and hygiene costs. During the competition, UEFA plans to conduct about 24,000 Covid-19 tests, a regime that includes not only the players, but also anyone who can get in close contact. Referees, team officials, even coach drivers.

The priority for the organizers will be to avoid the outbreak that could lead to the tournament. “Players are infected, teams cannot play. This is the worst case scenario [scenario]”- said Martin Cullen, Executive Director of UEFA Events.

“Ronaldo is just one,” he added, referring to the Portuguese star player.

Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal talisman striker Cristiano Ronaldo strikes this month during his country’s friendly against Spain in Madrid © Javier Soriano / AFP Getty Images

Efforts to hold a huge sporting event during the epidemic will be carefully followed by the organizers. Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to start on July 11 at Wembley Stadium in London, just two weeks after the Euro 2020 final.

The idea of ​​a continental football competition was dreamed of by Michel Platini, the former captain of France and then the president of UEFA.

He suggested the idea as a holiday of his favorite game in the world, which reflects the modern realities, with the help of low-cost airlines և online booking sites to make it easier for fans to participate.

The epidemic revealed the confusion underlying the programs. Platini resigned in 2016 ethics investigation To the World Football Authority for an unregistered payment from Fifa. His successor, Alexander Fer Eferin, spoke of moving the tournament to another country, such as Russia or England, due to the epidemic.

Supporters at the Stade de France, just north of Paris
Supporters prepare for France friendly clash with Bulgaria at Stade de France on Tuesday © Franck Fife / AFP Getty Images

It was decided that the initial plan would be easier to implement than not to opt for mandatory commercial contracts, although the ferry said that the attempt to hold the event in Europe was unlikely to be repeated.

Because Uefa did not want the games to be staged in empty spaces, Dublin and Bilbao, two unique host cities, had to leave. Of those who will meet, the Puskas Arena in Budapest is the only one that will be fully open. Stadiums in St. Petersburg և Baku will operate at 50 percent capacity, and some will fill a quarter.

Despite indications that the UK government may withdraw its plans to lift the coronavirus restrictions on June 21, UEFA hopes the curfew will be completed in time for Wembley to host 90,000 people in the final.

In contrast to the Olympics, where organizers agreed with pharmaceutical company Pfizer to offer vaccinations to athletes, UEFA decided that vaccinating players would be extremely difficult to manage before the tournament.

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But club football competitions, such as the Champions League, were successful similar protocols Those planned for Euro 2020.

Upon reaching the team’s training camp, players must pass the Covid-19 test, after which they enter a “balloon” cut off from the outside world. They will be tested every two or four days when accommodated in hotels երից indoors from other guests.

The food and laundry will be done by the team, not the hotel staff. The stadiums will be divided into different “zones” in order to prevent players from approaching anyone who has not undergone a rigorous testing regime.

“It’s not what you would choose, but everyone faces those challenges,” said England manager Gareth Southgate. “We respect that so many people in the world have not been able to do their job the way we do.”

Admittedly, it may be impossible to keep the virus away. Over the weekend, the captain of the Spanish national team Sergio Busquets gave a positive result on the virus, forcing the whole team to isolate themselves.

People walk with a ball advertising Euro 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan

People walk with a ball advertising Euro 2020, which is advertised by Azerbaijan in Baku, which will play the Wales-Switzerland match on Saturday. © Jean-Christophe Bott / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

If this happens again during the tournament, UEFA will require matches if at least 13 players from each of the 26 countries can play. If not, teams may have to leave young or reserve players with short notice to complete the games. Another option would be to postpone the meetings for no more than two days.

There are also contingency plans to move the games to other cities if the Covid-19 channel forces the country to withdraw from staging them.

“The most likely scenario is that we will have happy fans that we will not have big problems with Covid,” said Daniel Koch, health adviser to the organizers of Euro 2020.

“This tournament will not change the outcome of the epidemic,” he added, but it could help “in a good way if people are happier.”



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