Wembley remains the host of Euro 2020 semi-finals and final despite rising cases of COVID-19

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The Wembley Stadium in London will remain the host of the Euro 2020 semi-finals (July 6 and 7) and final (July 11) games despite a push by European powers for a change of venue due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

On Monday, June 21, the UK alone recorded five coronavirus-rated deaths and 10,633 new cases which were the highest in Europe.

Besides that, it was reported earlier in June that the government of the United Kingdom was not ready to comply fully with the requests of the European football governing body, UEFA. Some of the demands UEFA has been making include easing of coronavirus protocol on the dignitaries that might visit England for the final of the competition.

UEFA also wants the UK government to give the football body the go-ahead to increase the number of spectators that will be allowed into the stadium during the semi-finals and final games.

But the UK Prime Minister, Baron Johnson insisted that he would not prioritize Euro 2020 over public health which placed a big question mark on the demands of UEFA.

He however noted that the UK government and the health authorities in England would continue to dialogue with the football body over the conditions required for Wembley Stadium to host the semi-finals and final of the competition.

Wembley Stadium.
Inside the Wembley Stadium.

In reaction to that, UEFA said in a statement that the body would continue to discuss with the UK authorities over its demands and also revealed that there was a contingency plan in case Wembley Stadium fails to host the games.

Due to the back and forth between the government of the UK and UEFA, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi decided to intervene by asking UEFA to bring the semi-finals and final to Italy.

In the argument of the Prime Minister, he believes that the UK are currently battling with too many numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases and it would be safer if the games are taken to Italy.

“I will try to stop the final being held in a country where infections are rising quickly”, the Prime Minister said.

“I advocate that the final should not take place in a country in which the risk of infection is very big.”

It is not only the Italian Prime Minister that has expressed concern over the rising coronavirus cases in the UK. German chancellor Angela Merkel has also voiced her concern over the issue but that would not stop UEFA from changing its initial plan.

Recall that Italy hosted the Group A games in the Euro 2020 while the Wembley Stadium hosted England Group D games in the tournament with little or no serious issues related to breach of coronavirus protocol.

Hence, the latest statement from UEFA stressed that the football governing body is not planning to stop Wembley Stadium from hosting the semifinals and final of the competition.

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 at Wembley and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”