Euro 2020 has finally started after it was delayed for a year due to the ongoing pandemic which is continuing to ravage Europe and other parts of the world. The UEFA had decided to postpone the sporting event in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe being the continent used to be the epicenter of the pandemic last year.
The event has lost one host city from the original 12 host cities plan, now reduced to 11. One of the original venues which are Bilbao was changed to Seville to accommodate the hosting city in Spain.
After a long period of preparations and numerous changes, the event has finally started this June. The 24 teams from different cities in Europe will battle for supremacy to reign as the best national team in European football.
Before the event started, the UEFA enforced a series of protocols and measures to prevent the further transmission of the virus among the spectators, players, and other people involved in the event.
How Do COVID-19 Protocols work?
One of the visible changes employed this year is the decision of UEFA to increase the squad size from 23 to 26 to accommodate the effects of Covid-19.
This move is implemented to ensure that the participating nations have enough personnel in their arsenal and will have a full fixture just in case one of the athletes was tested positive or are forced to be isolated.
If any of the competing teams were confirmed hit with the virus, all the players and personnel will have to self-isolate to prevent the outbreak of the virus.
There is a window of 48 hours before the scheduled match to call for replacement players for a team that has 13 or fewer players available in the roster to compete because of the isolations. If the team couldn’t fulfill the 26-player squad after 48 hours, the match will not proceed and the team who tested positive will renounce the match 3-0.
The venues are instructed to accommodate a reduced capacity of spectators to prevent the transmission with the only exception of Budapest who is set to operate a full 100% capacity albeit with increased safety measures.
Some of the venues are expected to augment their attendee capacity depending on the easing of restrictions in each host nation. The Wembley Stadium in the UK which will host the semis and finals of Euro 2020 football highlights could accommodate a full capacity of 90,000 attendees subject to the UK plan to abolish all restrictions on June 21. However, experts say that it is highly unlikely for the stadium to operate at full capacity in the finals due to the restrictions.
Each venue has its requirements of Covid-19 testing for fans to access the event. For example in Budapest, an attendee will only be given an event access wristband if the attendee can show a proof of negative test or proof of vaccination.
Even though the participating teams will have no problem transporting players and staff from venue to venue, it will be tricky for fans because of the differing travel regulations in each host city.
In the UK, the nation has an ‘amber list’ where travelers from certain countries on the list are subjected to a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Even though the current iteration of the Euro 2020 has stripped off of its original splendor because of the pandemic, fans are still optimistic that the BBC football will still be as exciting and fun. What matters is that the tournament is still happening due to the commitment of the UEFA and the participating teams to the fans albeit with the delay.