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UK government grants go-ahead for Wembley Stadium to host 65,000 fans in Euro 2020 showpiece games

UK government grants go-ahead for Wembley Stadium to host 65,000 fans in Euro 2020 showpiece games
The final three matches at Euro 2020 will feature the largest crowds to attend sporting events in the UK in 15 months after Boris Johnson's government confirmed that Wembley will host 65,000 fans in the tournament's latter stages.

The famous stadium in the heart of London is set to host the semi-finals and final of the European Championships next month. Following confirmation from the UK government on Tuesday, the iconic setting has been permitted to allow 65,000 fans for each of those three games attend – meaning that the stadium will effectively be at around 75% capacity.

The three games will therefore be the largest public gatherings, at least in a sporting context, to have taken place in the United Kingdom since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

Wembley had been acting at a reduced capacity of 22,500 through the Euro 2020 group stages, which is set to expand to 45,000 for two knockout games in advance of the semi-finals.

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"It is great news that so many fans will be able to watch the final three matches of Euro 2020 at Wembley," said UEFA head Aleksander Ceferin.

"This tournament has been a beacon of hope to reassure people that we are returning to a more normal way of life and this is a further step along that road.

"I am grateful to the prime minister and the UK government for their hard work in finalizing these arrangements with us, to make the tournament final stages a great success in Wembley."

The final game of Euro 2020 is scheduled to take place on July 11 but a recent decision by the UK government to extend Covid-19 related restrictions until July 19 had thrown into doubt Wembley's status as acting as the host venue for the final and two semi-finals.

However, concerns were allayed when it was determined that the three games could be held with increased capacity as part of the UK's Events Research Programme, which was instituted as a means of examining the risk of transmission of Covid-19 at large events.

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"As we continue to make progress on our roadmap out of lockdown, keeping the public safe remains our top priority," said UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden of the news.

"We have worked extremely closely with Uefa and the Football Association to ensure rigorous and tight public health measures are in place whilst allowing more fans to see the action live.

"The finals promise to be an unforgettable moment in our national recovery from the pandemic."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, meanwhile, has expressed his hesitancy at Wembley being the host venue for the Euro 2020 crunch fixtures, given the rising rate of Covid-19 infections in the country linked to the highly-transmissible Delta variant.

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