UEFA seeks to dampen Euro 2020 panic over virus outbreak | Inquirer Sports

UEFA seeks to dampen Euro 2020 panic over virus outbreak

/ 04:20 PM March 03, 2020
Sports   Euro 2020

Spectators have their temperature measured as they enter the Via Del Mare Stadium in Lecce, Italy, Sunday, March 1, 2020 prior to the Serie A soccer match between Lecce and Atalanta. (Donato Fasano/LaPresse via AP)

AMSTERDAM — With a European Championship being staged across the continent in three months, UEFA is trying to dampen any panic about the impact of the fast-spreading virus even as uncertainty persists.

Just a couple of minutes were spent in a meeting of European soccer’s top executives on Monday discussing the impact of the COVID-19 disease on the 24-team tournament.


“The UEFA president (Aleksander Čeferin) immediately set the tone that the panic around all this may be worse than the virus itself,” Alexei Sorokin, a Russian member of the UEFA executive committee, said after a meeting in Amsterdam.

Unlike the usual format of one or two hosts for the Euros, games in this edition of the quadrennial event are taking place in 12 stadiums in 12 countries. The logistical problems already anticipated of moving thousands of fans around the continent are now potentially accompanied by health risks.


The domestic league in Switzerland has been put on hold on government orders with games called off on Monday through March 24. UEFA is aware of the potential risk as hundreds of staff, who are based at its headquarters in Nyon, often travel across Europe and are key to the operations of matches and tournaments.

The Europa League has already been hit with Inter Milan’s home game against Bulgarian club Ludogorets last week played without fans.

UEFA will be keen to ensure there is no impact on the Euros, which is worth around $2 billion in revenue.

“There wasn’t much discussion about it because there is not much we can do about it,” Phil Townsend, UEFA’s managing director of communications, said after the executive committee meeting. “We’re in the hands of the authorities. We’re in constant contact with the World Health Organization and the authorities dealing with the matches that are being staged, and then we’ll deal with that when the situation arises.”

The stadium that will be used most at Euro 2020 is Wembley, with seven games including the semifinals and the final. No games in England have been affected yet by the virus.

English football has been assessing the practicalities and financial impact for clubs if the government orders games in the Premier League and lower divisions to be played without fans, a person with knowledge of the planning said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

The need to potentially provide financial assistance has also been explored if clubs are left without ticket revenue, the person said.


“At the minute nobody is working on anything other than the Euros going ahead,” English Football Association chairman Greg Clarke said. “I expect them to go ahead but if the facts change, government policy could change, then we’ll see.”

Four games are in St. Petersburg, including a quarterfinal.

“We don’t sense any panic,” Sorokin said. “None whatsoever.”

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: coronavirus, COVID-19, Euro 2020, ncov update, Sports, UEFA
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.