MX23RW : Tuesday, August 3 14:55:31| >> :600:3977370:3977370:

Boris Johnson vows to seek "sensible accommodations" for overseas Euros fans

Boris Johnson vows to seek
© Reuters
The semi-finals and final of the tournament are due to be played at Wembley.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the British Government will see if there are any "sensible accommodations" it can make regarding overseas fans and VIPs at Euro 2020.

Sources at tournament organisers UEFA have refused to rule out switching the semi-finals and final from Wembley to Budapest if foreign fans and dignitaries cannot be exempted from the UK's strict coronavirus quarantine rules.

A statement from UEFA asked the Government to consider "a strict testing and bubble concept" where ticket holders would stay in the UK for less than 24 hours, with their movements restricted to approved transport and venues only.

Hungary's opening Euro 2020 match against Portugal was played in front of a capacity crowd
Hungary's opening Euro 2020 match against Portugal was played in front of a capacity crowd (Bernadett Szabo/AP)

It is understood to also be looking for exemptions for around 2,500 VIPs and sponsors.

A similar request was refused when UEFA was considering Wembley as a last-minute host for the Champions League final last month, but Johnson indicated a willingness to engage with UEFA on the Euros.

"We'll do what we have to do to keep the country safe from Covid – that's obviously going to be our priority, and we'll be talking to UEFA about what they want and see if we can make some sensible accommodations," he said on a visit to Kirklees College in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

"But the priority obviously has to be public health."

UEFA said in its statement on Friday morning it was "confident" Wembley would host the final week's matches but also pointed out "there is always a contingency plan".

It is understood the first option would be Budapest, where matches at the Puskas Arena are being played in front of capacity crowds.

The Government confirmed on Monday that the final four Euro 2020 matches at Wembley could be played in front of crowds of at least 40,000 despite the decision to delay the final easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The games will be part of the Government's Events Research Programme (ERP) which has been running since April and has been used to test various ways to get fans back into venues without the need for social distancing.

Currently, overseas fans coming in from countries on the amber list – which the vast majority of Europe falls within – would have to provide a negative test before leaving their country of origin in order to enter the UK and then strictly isolate for at least five days using the 'test to release' scheme, or for 10 days.

Asked if it was realistic that the Government would grant concessions, Euro 2020 tournament director Martin Kallen said on Thursday: "I hope so. At the moment it is too early to say it but we have seen some signs that there could be a possibility.

"But it's too early to give a clear answer, we have still some time on that side."

Clive Efford, a Labour MP who sits on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, told the PA news agency: "If they enter the country they cannot be allowed to move freely without precautions.

"They must be escorted to and from the games and anywhere else they may go. I have no objection to special arrangements being made for them to go out to dine and to go sightseeing with strict precautions in place, but they should not be allowed roam around without restriction."

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Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

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