UEFA threatens to move Euro 2020 final to Hungary from Wembley
The final is due to take place in London on Sunday 11 July
UEFA have warned that they could relocate the Euro 2020 final to Hungary unless the UK government provides a quarantine exemption to the 2,500 VIP officials set to attend the showpiece event.
Wembley is set to host both semi-finals and the final of the tournament.
However, the Times reports that UEFA are discussing their options because of the potential quarantine restrictions that its officials and VIP guests would face on entering the UK.
The governing body of European football have said that they are prepared to change the venue of the final if the hosting nation are under Covid restrictions that could prevent fans, officials and important corporate guests from attending the games.
Ministers are said to be discussing proposals to exempt UEFA and FIFA officials, sponsors and broadcaster from having to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, although there are obvious concerns that this could lead to an increase in coronavirus infections and provoke a backlash from the public.
Currently, a ten-day isolation is required for people arriving from countries that are on the amber or red list. Every team competing in the tournament is on the UK's amber list, with the exception of Turkey - which is on the red list.
The quarantine exemptions would also allow the 2,500 visitors to watch each team's training sessions.
If ministers decide against the exemption though, UEFA is set to move the final to Budapest. Hungary will have no border restrictions within the Schengen zone as of next week. Budapest is also the only venue used at the tournament that has allowed full capacity at its matches.
The final at Wembley will only be at 50% of its 90,000 capacity for the semis and final.
The government is looking into the effect that the waiving of quarantine for the 2,500 VIPs may have, but they are eager to not have the final relocated. It is also thought that hosting the final could boost England's 2030 World Cup bid as it would allow Boris Johnson to meet senior figures from UEFA.
If the restrictions for the VIPs were waived though, it would surely stick in the throat of the millions of Brits who have been denied holidays over the past year.
It also should not go unnoticed that if the final were moved to Budapest, UEFA would be moving it to a nation that recently passed a law banning gay people from featuring in school educational material or TV shows for under-18s.
The measures have been likened to Russia's 2013 law against "gay propaganda," with Amnesty International's Hungarian chapter describing the new law as a "dark day for LGBTI rights and for Hungary."
But hey, who cares about that if 2,500 VIPs can attend a final there without having to quarantine, right UEFA?