Anyone allowed to come into the UK without quarantine as part of the Euros will not be allowed to “just go on a tour of Britain” but “special dispensation” had to be made in order to host matches, a Government minister has said.
Media minister John Whittingdale said the Government was still in discussions with Uefa over allowing VIPs such as officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters to agree to come into the UK without having to quarantine but only attend football matches.
The Times reported that VIPs are expected to fly in and out of the country on the same day, or stay overnight in hotels block-booked for the tournament.
Questioned over plans on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Whittingdale said: “This is something we have been in discussion with Uefa about.
“We’ve always been clear that we were keen to host tournaments in the UK and therefore, obviously, we’ve had to make special dispensation already for team members and people closely associated with teams.
“Uefa are keen that more people associated with each country should be allowed to come, so we’ve been in discussion with them about that.
“Every decision we take is on the basis of the scientific advice and we will do nothing to put public health at risk.”
Earlier reports had suggested the final could be moved to Budapest if a deal could not be reached and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also said that Rome could provide an alternative venue.
In a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 in Wembley, and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”
Mr Whittingdale told Good Morning Britain that anyone arriving in the UK under any agreement would not be “fully exempt” from the rules.
“Those who are allowed to come into the country in order to attend the match come in for precisely that,” he said.
“They’re not allowed to just go on a tour of Britain whilst they’re here. They come in, they stay in a designated place, they attend the match, and then they leave.
“So, I mean, it is for a specific purpose, that’s been the case for team members and for people closely associated with the team, and we are in discussion with Uefa about this, but we are very keen that we should continue to host the semi-finals and final in the UK, I think a lot of people in the country would like that to happen.”
The Government announced on Tuesday that more than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley if they have a negative Covid-19 test or prove they are double-vaccinated.
Uefa is thought to be pushing for 2,500 VIPs to attend the competition’s final on July 11 without being subjected to quarantine requirements that apply to other international travellers.
However, British travellers continue to face restrictions over taking holidays abroad and Labour’s John Healey said any agreement would be “one rule for important people … and one rule for the rest”.
The shadow defence secretary said it would be “wrong, and too much of what we’ve seen from this Government”.
Culture minister Baroness Barran told peers on Monday the Government would restrict any changes to the “smallest possible group deemed critical to staging the tournament successfully”.
She said VIPs or accredited guests would not be exempt from restrictions but instead only be able to leave isolation for official events, would be subject to testing and bubble arrangements with a very strict code of conduct in place.
Attendance capacity for the tournament’s closing matches at Wembley has been increased to 75%, which could see some of the largest crowds for a sporting event in the UK since the start of the pandemic.
All ticket holders will be required to have a negative coronavirus test or provide proof of two doses of a vaccine 14 days before a game.