Euro 2020 and Wimbledon still 'possible' this summer to 'give people hope' as lockdown lifts

Euro 2020 and Wimbledon still 'possible' this summer to 'give people hope' as lockdown lifts

February 19, 2021

MAJOR sporting events might still get the green light for this summer  – meaning Euro 2020 and Wimbledon could go ahead. 

The football and tennis tournaments might still be “possible” and could be the “catalysts to give people hope” during a post-lockdown summer. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan believes that the sporting and cultural events in the capital could be a “springboard to recovery” post-lockdown.

But he insists that they must go ahead safely, with fans from the UK in stadiums rather than overseas expected to attend. 

Football's European Championship was delayed by a year due to the pandemic, with Uefa still hopeful of staging the tournament in 12 cities – including London and Glasgow. 

Scenarios are being drawn up for Wimbledon to take place at full capacity, reduced numbers or behind closed doors.

Mr Khan said: "I think it is possible and I'm hoping there will be a really good summer. I think Euro 2020 will be fantastic, we have seven games in London. 

“I think we can use Euro 2020 as a springboard to a recovery, particularly if it's domestic fans only. I want to see Scots coming down to London to watch the Scotland-England game and it can be really exciting.

"Similarly, I am looking forward to cultural events, to open-air theatres, to street carnivals, to Wimbledon.

"It'll be very different this year for obvious reasons because we've got to recognise that international travel is not the same as previous years.

"But those could be the catalyst to give people hope and to engender a sense of positivity, but it's got to be done safely."

Sports fans could also be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events including the Euros and Wimbledon again this summer.

But with social distancing to remain in place in some form for many months yet, stadiums are unlikely to be completely full for a while yet.

Coronavirus cases are now back to levels seen before the pandemic’s second wave, with figures from Public Health England released yesterday showing that 99 per cent of areas have been a drop in infections. 

Britain’s biggest virus infection survey found the R rate is down to 0.7, even as low as 0.6 in London.

This R rate estimate is different from figures produced by Sage which are released every Friday.

Last Friday it was reported that the R rate was between 0.7 and 0.9 – dropping below 1 for the first time since July.

Last month Euro chiefs insisted that the competition would still go ahead, but have left themselves a get-out clause if the virus runs out of control and forces last-minute changes.

Professional football was allowed to resume in June last year, with fans banned from stadiums until late last year. 

Fans were allowed back into stadiums briefly in December, after four weeks of national lockdown, when the country was put into the Tier system. 

Stadiums that were in Tier 1 were allowed 4,000 socially distanced fans or half of their maximum capacity – whichever number was lower. 

Those venues based in Tier 2 were allowed 2,000 socially distanced fans of half their maximum capacity, while Tier 3 stadiums had to continue to hold events behind closed doors. 

Outdoor sports such as tennis, outdoor swimming and golf could also be reopened in the coming weeks – though close contact sports may have to wait a while longer.

Though limited crowds were allowed to attend live sport in the Autumn, there is no date in sight for when sports stadiums can reopen fully.

Millions of tests, which return a result in half an hour, could be used every day in settings from workplaces to football stadiums.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to reveal his lockdown roadmap next Monday as coronavirus infections and deaths continue to fall. 

The PM has repeatedly stressed that restrictions will be eased cautiously – and urged Brits to show patience in the months ahead. 

Mr Johnson vowed to be driven by data not dates in his “cautious and prudent” lifting of Covid restrictions, starting on March 8 with reopening schools.

He has repeatedly stressed that restrictions will be eased cautiously – and urged Brits to show patience in the months ahead.

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