After being delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Euro 2020 football tournament is now just weeks away – however, continued high rates of coronavirus in many parts of the world mean fans are being advised to avoid travelling abroad for games.
In a statement today, the Welsh Government and the Football Association of Wales (FAW) have urged fans not to travel abroad for games over coronavirus fears.
Wales are set to play France in a friendly in Nice this coming Wednesday (2 June), before then taking on Switzerland, Turkey and Italy later in the month.
Speaking about the upcoming competition, First Minister Mark Drakeford said that June will be an “exciting month” but urged fans to stay at home. Drakeford said;
“Everyone has shown great team spirit during the pandemic, looking out for each other to keep Wales safe. Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t over yet and this means we still need to make some changes to our lives to stay safe.
“For football fans, the best way to show your support for Wales is to stay in Wales and support the team from home.
“It’s our very clear advice that you shouldn’t travel – France, Azerbaijan and Italy are on the amber list because the virus is in circulation there.”
FAW President Kieran O’Connor has echoed the words of the First Minister, saying;
“We are all thrilled this tournament is finally set to take place, it’s also clear that playing in different locations during a global pandemic brings with it certain challenges and responsibilities.
“We are therefore asking again for the Red Wall’s co-operation in not travelling to Baku, Rome or Nice this June, ensuring our fans and our communities stay as safe as possible as we all play our part in navigating ourselves through this pandemic.”
The UK Government’s foreign travel advice also currently states that people should not travel to amber or red list countries, in order to prevent new COVID variants from ending the UK – currently, France, Azerbaijan and Italy are all on the amber list.
Meanwhile, all of England’s group stage games are set to be held at Wembley Stadium. Scotland’s national team will travel to the Netherlands and then Luxembourg for friendlies, with their group stage games taking place in the UK.
The UEFA Euro 2020 tournament had been due to take place in 12 cities across Europe from 12 June to 12 July, but will now instead take place from 11 June to 11 July 2021.