Denmark said on Thursday it would allow at least 11,000 spectators per match at the four European Championship games to be played in Copenhagen in June.
The government said however it reserved the right to raise or lower the number depending on the state of the pandemic at the time.
“The European Championship in football is a unique and historic event in Denmark. The government has therefore decided to authorise at least 11,000 to 12,000 spectators for the four matches held at Parken” stadium, Culture and Sports Minister Joy Mogensen said in a statement.
The four matches are scheduled for June 12, 17, 21, and 28.
“We have also informed the (Danish football federation) DBU and UEFA that it may be necessary to ban spectators if there is a large spread of the infection that would make it medically indefensible to authorise spectators,” she said.
The Euros, which have been postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are to be hosted by 12 countries, with the semis and finals played at Wembley in London.
UEFA has insisted that fans be allowed in the stands to watch the games, threatening to withdraw matches from host cities if they are not able to welcome spectators — a warning that has been heavily criticised, in particular by Germany.
Denmark, a country of 5.8 million people, has so far been spared a third wave of infections, unlike many other European neighbours.
The country, which was in partial lockdown over Christmas, currently has four times fewer cases than in early December, registering around 700 to 800 cases daily.
Denmark plans to issue a “corona pass”, a mobile phone app certifying that the holder has either tested negative within 72 hours, been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19.
UEFA has proposed postponing this year’s European Championship until 2021, a source close to European football’s governing body told AFP on Tuesday, as the continent battles with the coronavirus pandemic.
The source’s confirmation of the proposal came after the Norwegian FA tweeted that the new plan is for the tournament to take place from June 11 to July 11 next year, turning Euro 2020 into Euro 2021.
The proposal was made as UEFA held crisis talks with its national associations as well as clubs and players bodies via videoconference on Tuesday. The proposal is likely to be ratified at a UEFA Executive Committee meeting in the afternoon.
The move comes with most of Europe’s domestic leagues having ground to a halt over the last week as football confronts its biggest issue in modern times.
The UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions for clubs have also been suspended, with both still in the last-16 stage, but postponing the European Championship for national sides means they, along with national leagues, will have the chance to be completed, assuming travel restrictions are lifted in time.
Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with France on Tuesday having joined Italy and Spain in applying strict lockdown measures and European leaders also planning to ban all non-essential travel into the continent.
More than 2,100 people have died in Italy, which was supposed to host the opening game of Euro 2020 in Rome. The head of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina, had already led calls for the Euros to be postponed.
Euro 2020 was due to be held in 12 different cities across the continent, from as far apart as Dublin and Bilbao, to Saint Petersburg and Baku.
The semi-finals and final were due to be played in London and there would considerable knock-on effects to postponing the competition — the women’s European Championship is scheduled to run from July 7 to August 1 next year in England, with the final at Wembley.
UEFA have also planned to stage an Under-21 Euros in Hungary and Slovenia in June next year.
Twenty of the 24 teams set to take part in the Euro have already qualified, but play-offs to determine the final four participants, due to be played later this month, will have to take place at a later date.
– Collision course with FIFA? –
Moving the Euro by a year also puts UEFA on a collision course with football’s world governing body FIFA, whose president Gianni Infantino has planned to stage the inaugural edition of his highly lucrative Club World Cup in June and July next year in China. Some of Europe’s top club sides are expected to be involved.
“FIFA will keep in regular contact with all relevant stakeholders during this difficult period and look to find in due course solutions in a spirit of cooperation, taking into account the interests of football at all levels,” Infantino wrote in an open letter on Monday.
“Health first and sporting solidarity should be the key principles guiding decision-making at this important moment in time and I am sure that the whole football community will live up to the great values of our sport.”
– ‘Final Four’ proposal –
As for its flagship club competitions, UEFA may come to a decision to try to complete the Champions League and Europa League by curtailing the competitions, meaning ties up to the semi-finals could be decided in one-off matches.
Reports on Tuesday also indicated both tournaments could conclude with a ‘Final Four’ meeting in the scheduled host cities — Istanbul for the Champions League and Gdansk in Poland for the Europa League, meaning the two-legged semi-finals would be removed.
Financially, UEFA will undoubtedly prefer postponements to outright cancellations, or playing matches behind closed doors, even if it is impossible at this stage to know when club football can resume.
The last European Championship, held in France in 2016, generated total revenue of close to two billion euros ($2.2 billion) for UEFA.
“The financial stakes are enormous,” according to one senior figure in the international game. “We know that FIFA has significant reserves but we don’t know about UEFA or the different leagues.”
A French court has jailed three Russian fans for two years for their role in violence in Marseille before the England-Russia opening match in the Euro 2016.
Alexei Yerunov, Nikolai Morozov and Sergei Gorbachev were among 43 Russian supporters detained by French police in southern France on Tuesday after the pitched battles which left at least 35 people injured.
Yerunov who is supporters’ liaison officer at Lokomotiv Moscow received the longest prison sentence of 24 months.
Gorbachev, who leads a supporters’ club at Russian second division club Arsenal Tula, was jailed for 18 months while Morozov got 12 months.
European Football Governing Body (UEFA) had warned England and Russia that they could be thrown out of the European championship finals if their fans are involved in more violence.
Dozens of people were hurt in three days of clashes in Marseille and at the Stade Velodrome after the England-Russia match on Saturday, June 11, which ended in a 1-1.
The Marseille police confirmed that eight people were arrested, including British, Russian and French citizens and emphasised that four of the injured were in serious condition on Saturday.
European Football Governing Body (UEFA) has warned England and Russia that they could be thrown out of the European championship finals if their fans are involved in more violence.
Dozens of people were hurt in three days of clashes in Marseille and at the Stade Velodrome after the England-Russia match on Saturday which ended in a 1-1.
UEFA earlier charged Russia with misconduct over the role of its fans in the unrest.
Meanwhile, English Football Association, Chief Executive, Martin Gleen, described the violence as the worst he had seen for decades.
France braces for intense security around Euro 2016 championship.
In a statement,UEFA expressed its utter disgust for the violent clashes that occurred in the city center of Marseille, and its serious concern for the incidents at the end of the match inside Stade Velodrome.
The French Interior Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, called the fans’ behavior barbaric and said it was “absolutely necessary that national federations whose supporters create incidents of this nature be penalised”.
The Marseille police said at least 35 people were injured and emphasised that four of them were in serious condition on Saturday.
They added that eight people were arrested, including British, Russian and French citizens.
The British government said in a statement that six British nationals were hospitalised and several others had received treatment.
“The UK Government is deeply concerned by the violence in Marseille last night, including reports that in some cases England fans were attacked by rival supporters,” it said. “We condemn the violence and urge calm on all sides.”
It said it welcomed UEFA’s launching of an investigation into the violence at the stadium, and had offered to send additional British police to France ahead of England’s next match, against Wales in Lens.
Arsenal striker, Olivier Giroud, hopes to become the latest in a long line of great French strikers to fire his country to glory at this summer’s European Championship.
The 29-year-old enters the tournament as Les Bleus’ leading scorer with 17 goals, including three in their warm-up games against Cameroon and Scotland.
Giroud grew up watching Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, and would love to emulate their success on home soil.
“I was only 11 [in 1998] and it was one of my best memories as a fan of the French national team,” he told Arsenal Player.
“It was fantastic for all the French people to win the World Cup, especially at home. That’s why we want to make our French fans proud this summer.
“It was the continuity of the World Cup (when they went to Euro 2000). They confirmed their great form and almost kept the exact same squad. It is always difficult to win again two years afterwards, but they did very well with a fantastic scenario against Italy at the end of the final.
“I remember the pass from Robert Pires to Sylvain Wiltord, and then the pass to David Trezeguet who found the top-left corner. I couldn’t forget this goal.
“I also remember watching David Ginola, Eric Cantona, Jean-Pierre Papin and strikers like that. I was looking to become a striker. I remember very good players like them, and also Thierry Henry, Trezeguet and Anelka too. We’ve always had very good strikers.
“It’s a great feeling (to be representing France in front of our home fans) and we’re all looking forward to that.
“We want to do well in front of our own fans so we’re going to do everything we can to bring the trophy back home.”
UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the English Football Association and Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF), following crowd disturbances in their EURO 2016 qualifier in Vilnius on Monday.
Riot Police had to break up skirmishes between rival fans before the start, with some England supporters appearing to be in a section for home fans with no segregation.
UEFA said in a statement that the LFF also faces proceedings over ticketing and blocked stairways.
England won 3-nil to make it 10 wins from 10 in Group E ahead of 2016 European Championship in France.
Chelsea and Nigerian midfield kingpin, John Obi Mikel, is set to sign an improved four year contract with the reigning European champions.
The players agent, John Ola Shittu, said “Mikel will soon sign a new five year deal with Chelsea, with an improved salary” “We are just about finalizing the details of the deal and it can be announced anytime soon by the club.
“He has a year left on his contract and Chelsea has decided to add four more years to it.”
However, Shittu didn’t disclose the financial aspects of the new deal for his player, who is reportedly on about 80,000 pounds a week.
In 2006, Mikel opted for Chelsea ahead of Manchester United in a long-drawn transfer saga.
Shittu said the player is now been rewarded for his consistency.
“He is one of the most consistent performers and the club management agree with us that he deserves a new and improved contract,” he said in an interview published by daily sports paper Complete Sports.
The Nigeria international has won several major trophies with ‘The Blues’ including a historic UEFA Champions League last season as well as a league and cup double in 2010.
The central defender for the Greece, Avraam Papadopoulos has been ruled out of the European championship 2012 which started in Thursday with his country playing the opening game with co-host country Poland, a game that ended in a draw.
It was during Friday’s game that Papadopoulos was sown on-field getting medical treatment after being injured in Warsaw stadium and he was helped off the pitch in the 37th minute after what initially appeared to be a harmless challenge from Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in the Group A game.
The team doctor has confirmed that the central defender will be missing the rest of the European Championship after picking up a ligament injury to his left leg and the 27-year-old was due to fly back to Greece later in the day.
The Olympiakos defender played a key role in Greece’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2012 will be solely missed for experienced defensive play, a notable advantage for Greece in the EURO 2012 tournament.