The recurring waves of covid-19 are sweeping across Europe and other parts of the world in several mutations, hosting a megaevent like the euros can be a mammoth’s task. Euro 2020, which was supposed to take place last year, is taking place after a delay of 12 months in 2021 due to the unexpected arrival of the covid-19 pandemic.
Hosting a tournament of this magnitude amidst a global pandemic can pose several sets of challenges for the organizers, players, and fans, to tackle this challenge UEFA has made several changes and introduced several new measures to contain the risk and challenges this pandemic poses for the tournament.
How will UEFA implement covid-19 protocols?
UEFA, the regulating body of Euros has formulated various sets of protocols to prevent a covid-19 outbreak in the tournament, however, in case anyone tests a player, staff, coach, spectator, or anyone associated with the tournament tests positive UEFA has set several guidelines to contain the virus, here are some of those measures
1 26 men squad-
Euro 2020 allows each participating country to include a full 26 men squad. This increased strength is keeping in mind a situation in which a player or group of players tests positive. The participant country will have enough reserves to play the match. As it happened in the case of Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets who tested positive at the start of the tournament and had to isolate, and Spain carried out their games without him.
However, in case of a worst-case scenario here less than 13 players are only available to play the game can be delayed for 48 hours, and even after that, if the majority of players are positive, the game will not be played and will be forfeited by the team whose players tested positive.
2 Multiple Venues
This game is the first edition of euros which will take place across different cities in Europe. Earlier, there was usually a host country where all the matches of the tournament, except for the final, will be played in the home teams’ country. The finals will take place in Wembley stadium in London. This will prevent overcrowding of fans, press, and the players in one country and will promote less travel
Some venues may increase or decrease the number of spectators depending on the covid situation around the area, where each spectator will have to present a negative covid test to enter the stadium. The same applies to players, staff, coaches, and other organizers. some venues can be allowed to operate at full strength as the tournament progresses
3 Remote media
Media personnel is not allowed, so players and coaches will not be expected to fulfill media commitments. However, press conferences will be conducted, with the medium of video conferencing media will cover all events related to the tournament taking place outside the stadium for travel protocols
Different countries across Europe hosting the tournament have imposed a different set of protocols and rules for the traveling fans. For example, Russia asked fans traveling from the UK to quarantine for 14 days in Russia, as the new delta plus variant is prevalent in the UK which creates a big hurdle for fans. In Germany, the quarantine period is 10 days, while the UK has a strict covid protocol with firm testing with no exceptions and a quarantine period of 5 days. In Budapest, fans are required to have a negative covid test report and wrist band, also the fans are expected to reach 3 hours before the fixture is about to begin to prevent overcrowding at queues. Azerbaijan has exempted players from recurring covid tets
5 Controlling of fan zones
Cities in Europe have a passionate following of the game, therefore, local pubs, cafes. These places and events can act as “super-spreaders according to” medical experts as these spaces are largely unregulated, therefore they are prone to overcrowding by passionate fans. To tackle this problem, new fan zones have been started with larger capacity like the one at Trafalgar square in England with an increased capacity, of 12,500
The success of euro2020 will determine the fate of the Tokyo Olympics in Japan this year and the 2022 Qatar world cup by extension, but it also provides a blueprint for future sporting events and how they can be held during this worldwide pandemic.
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