UEFA Euro 2020 will finally get under way this evening at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico at 25-per-cent capacity and with all ticket-holders required to prove their COVID-19 status.
Some 16,000 spectators will be in attendance for the match between Italy and Turkey, with entry dependent on the presentation of a certificate of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or a negative rapid swab test performed within 48 hours before kick-off.
The start of the tournament comes 364 days after it was scheduled to begin before being postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first ticket sales phase began exactly two years ago tomorrow (June 12) in 2019 when, in a pre-COVID world, some 4.5m ticket requests were made in the first week.
Rome is one of seven of the 11 Euro 2020 venues where COVID certification will be a requirement of entry, with details having only been confirmed in the last few days. London’s Wembley Stadium, which will hold seven games, will require proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test result for all fans attending, with similar requirements in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen and Munich.
Seville, which replaced Bilbao as a host venue, recommends that attendees should prove their COVID status and collect a wristband. However, a wristband is not mandatory for those entering the stadium.
Three venues do not require COVID certification – Baku, Glasgow and St Petersburg. The Russian venue requires all fans to take a temperature check, while the cities in Azerbaijan and Scotland simply request attendees to respect social distancing rules and wearing a face mask.
Wembley is due to allow 25-per-cent capacity for its first-round games with more fans allowed later in the tournament. Most of the 11 host cities are to allow either 25-per-cent or 50-per-cent capacity, with Budapest aiming for a full house.
Reduced capacities across the 51 matches mean that little more than one million fans are expected across the pan-European tournament compared to around 3.5m initially expected. Some 2.4m tickets were sold for Euro 2016 games in France five years ago. Last February, UEFA claimed to have received 28.3 million requests for Euro 2020 tickets, which was double the number for the previous tournament.
Following the postponement and after the tournament was rescheduled, ticket holders were given the opportunity to return tickets and claim refunds. At one stage, organisers were said to be weighing up cancelling all tickets and restarting the ticketing process from scratch.
Once venues and capacities were confirmed last month, UEFA and national federations carried out ballots in which millions of tickets were cancelled.
When announcing the ticketing strategy in 2019, UEFA said resale was prohibited other than by its own platform that was to be launched in the months leading up to the tournament in 2020.
However, despite the track and trace requirements that make resale even more problematic, the Evening Standard newspaper claims that tickets to watch England at Wembley are being offered for £10,000 a pair via an unnamed website.
UEFA said supporters are only permitted to transfer tickets into the name of friends or family if they are unable to attend due to medical reasons.
A spokesman added: “Tickets that are purchased from third-party ticketing websites and secondary ticketing platforms are invalid under terms and conditions and will not grant entry to the stadium.”