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Hampden’s Euro 2020 games could be watched by ‘a reasonably good number’ of fans

Scotland v England – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Group F – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Scotland fans have been given Euro 2020 encouragement after Nicola Sturgeon declared optimism that there would be a “reasonably good number” of supporters at Hampden.

UEFA has asked for the 12 host cities – including Glasgow, Dublin and London – for their proposals on how many fans they expect to be able to accommodate by Wednesday.

While the UK Government has announced plans for a number of test events – including a 21,000 crowd for the FA Cup final on May 15 – with a view to having Wembley full for at least some European Championship games, the Scottish Government has been more circumspect.

There is no date set for fans to return in Scotland but provisional proposals will be handed to UEFA this week.

Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is optimistic about a Hampden crowd (Jane Barlow/PA)

Sturgeon would not go into details but she gave fans hope they could be in Hampden for games against Czech Republic on June 14 and Croatia eight days later.

The First Minister said at her daily briefing: “We have to put our proposals into UEFA, they have to then assess those and it will be for them to set out the proposals in due course.

“We are well aware of the deadline and while these are not final decisions for us, I am optimistic we will have matches played here in Scotland with a number of spectators, a reasonably good number of spectators in Hampden for them.

“But obviously these are discussions and deliberations and decisions that have to be made by the appropriate authorities.”

Empty seats

Hampden was empty for the recent World Cup qualifier against Austria (Jane Barlow/PA)

The SNP leader added: “I have said this before and I am not alone here, there are many people who will feel it even more strongly than I do, I desperately want to have these matches played here in Scotland at Hampden, not least because we will have the ability to cheer on Scotland in a couple of those matches.

“So it is really important for sports fans but also, just the idea that that will be possible come June, I think gives us all a lift and a belief that things might be getting back to normal.

“In terms of the European Championship, there are other countries involved in this, and some of those countries have real challenges on their hands with Covid right now. So there are some tough issues for all of us to continue to grapple with.

“But we’re still in a global pandemic. I can’t stand here in early April and give absolute 100 per cent guarantees for June on anything. That’s not the nature of what we are dealing with.

“But I’m very, very hopeful I might be at Hampden to watch Scotland in the European Championship and we’ll continue to work as hard as we can to make that happen.”

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Meanwhile, Scotland have arranged two warm-up games ahead of their opener against the Czechs.

Steve Clarke’s side will face Holland in the Estadio Algarve, near Faro, Portugal, on June 2 and Luxembourg away on June 6.

A Scottish Football Association statement added: “Further details of Scotland’s preparations will be communicated in due course and in consultation with the Scottish Government with regard to elite athletes’ training camp guidelines.”

Luxembourg stunned the Republic of Ireland last month by winning their opening World Cup qualifier 1-0 in Dublin.

Holland, who are managed by former Rangers defender Frank De Boer, are due to host Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia in the Euros.

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin is due to host four Euro 2020 matches

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin is due to host four Euro 2020 matches (Brian Lawless/PA).

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium is to set to host four matches in the tournament – three group games and a round-of-16 tie.

An Irish Government spokesman said: “At its meeting last Tuesday the Government noted that owing to the pandemic it is not in a position at this point to provide assurances on minimum spectator levels at the UEFA 2020 matches due to be held in Dublin in June.

“The Government also noted that officials will keep the matter under review and continue to work with UEFA on the hosting of the matches noting Ireland’s track record in the last year in staging major spectator field sports in the areas of football, GAA and rugby.”

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said it had been told by the government that Rome’s Stadio Olimpico will be able to welcome spectators for Euro 2020.

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said in a statement: “I thank Minister of Health Roberto Speranza for communicating that he has entrusted the CTS (the technical scientific committee) with identifying the best solutions which will allow the presence of the public at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in June on the occasion of the European Championship.”