Nicola Sturgeon ‘absolutely intent’ on Scotland hosting Euro 2020 matches

A quartet of matches are initially due to take place in Scotland

Sport Staff
Friday 05 March 2021 17:09
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is “absolutely intent” on Hampden co-hosting Euro 2020 and hopes the coming weeks will bring a “greater degree of confidence” that fans will be allowed in to watch Scotland.

Scotland are due to host Croatia and the Czech Republic in June among four Hampden encounters in the delayed tournament.

UEFA set an April 7 deadline for the 12 host cities to detail whether they expect to be able to stage games and whether they would be behind closed doors, full houses or something in between.

But reports have claimed Glasgow is among three cities in danger of losing its hosting rights amid uncertainty over when restrictions on crowds will be eased.

The Scottish Government has been more cautious on detailing a route out of lockdown than some other countries. The UK Government has outlined proposals for up to 10,000 fans to be allowed into English grounds from May 17, and for full houses potentially from June 21, ahead of England’s third group game at Wembley.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon said: “Nobody wants Scotland to ‘lose the Euros’ and I don’t think we should be in the position now of thinking that’s the case.

“There’s a deadline by which all countries have to give indications to UEFA about what they think will be possible in terms of fans and fan zones. All countries are grappling with this - not just Scotland.

“We’re standing here on March 5 and while we’re really hopeful - and I think you’re getting signs of a lot of optimism from us today - looking too far ahead is just difficult to do.

“But let me be very clear, we are absolutely intent on having the Euros, having Hampden as one of the host stadiums of the Euros.

“We have always been intent on that, let’s say we’re particularly keen on that now that would bring the opportunity to see Scotland play at Hampden as well.

“While nothing in a global pandemic can be certain when you’re looking far into the future, I very, very, very much want, hope - and hopefully over the next few weeks get a greater degree of confidence in saying expect - to be one of many of the Tartan Army fans cheering on Scotland at Hampden.”

READ MORE: Who is on the bus for England’s Euro 2020 squad?

The SNP leader added that “we’ve all got a part” to play in making sure games can go ahead at the national stadium by helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

National clinical director Jason Leitch said he knew a number of other countries were struggling to provide certainty around this issue.

He added they may be more confident by the time of the deadline in April, but there would have to be an option to “reverse” that decision.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who is a top-flight assistant referee, believes the impact of missing out on these fixtures would be “terrible”.

He said: “Public health must always be the number one priority, but I would urge the SNP government to get around the table with the footballing authorities as soon as possible.

“Our fans deserve to see Euros matches kick off in Scotland and every effort must be put into making sure that happens.

“The UK’s world-leading vaccine rollout has made the possible return of fans possible. Let’s hope the SNP get this right and find a solution.”

PA

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