Italian expert says UEFA’s Euro 2020 fan deadline is unrealistic

Rome (AFP) – Italy needs more time from UEFA to decide how many fans can safely attend Euro 2020 matches in Rome, the Italian government’s chief scientific advisor said on Monday.

UEFA last week extended the deadline for the host countries to say how many fans they would host but at the same time it threatened four of the 12 cities with losing their matches.

Originally, UEFA asked for a firm decision from host cities by April 7, but when some countries said they were not in a position to give assurances that they would allow fans into the grounds, the governing body of European football gave them 12 more days while issuing a warning.

Like Munich, Bilbao and Dublin, the Italian capital has “until 19 April to provide” UEFA with “additional information” on its plans for spectators.

Franco Locatelli, the scientific advisor, told state broadcaster RAI that the deadline was unrealistic because it was hard to predict the spread of Covid-19.

“It would be desirable for UEFA to give a little more time because it is difficult to make a forecast for an event that will take place in two months’ time,” said Locatelli.

“If we could wait until the start of May, it would be more feasible to make a forecast more consistent with the evolution of the epidemic.”

The Stadio Olimpico is due to host Italy’s three group-stage matches, including the opening game against Turkey on June 11, as well as a quarter-final.

“Every effort will be made to keep the opening match as well as the other three matches,” said Locatelli.

The Italian government has given a green light to fans at Euro 2020 games, but asked its technical and scientific committee to come up with health protocols.

The president of the Italian Football Association, Gabriele Gravina, is in favour of opening up the Stadio Olimpico to 30 percent of its capacity, or some 20,000 spectators.

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