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Ireland risks losing right to host four Euro 2020 matches this summer due to Covid ban on spectators 

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The Aviva Stadium in Dublin is due to host four European Championship matches. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin is due to host four European Championship matches. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin is due to host four European Championship matches. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

IRELAND is at risk of losing the four European Championship games it is due to host this summer because of the current nationwide ban on spectators at sporting events, the Cabinet has been warned.

UEFA, soccer’s European governing body, has asked for assurances from host countries that they can commit to a target of allowing minimum attendances of 25pc of a stadium’s capacity at matches and a relaxation of the social distancing rule from two metres to 1.5 metres in grounds by April 7.

The delayed Euro 2020 tournament is due to take place across 12 European capitals between June 11 and July 11.

The Aviva Stadium is due to host four games, including group stage matches involving Poland, Sweden and Slovakia as well as one second round game between June 14 and 29.

Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers, informed the Cabinet on Tuesday that the Government is not in a position to give such assurances given the ongoing public health restrictions, meaning there is risk that UEFA will withdraw hosting rights.

However, a Coalition source said the situation was “fluid” and the Government is continuing to work with UEFA on the issue.

They noted that other host countries are currently in a similar predicament in terms of high case numbers and restrictions and may not be able to give assurances on spectators being allowed by the deadline of Wednesday week.

A memo for Cabinet also outlines how necessary arrangements would need to be put in place if games Dublin is due to host do go ahead behind closed doors, including allowing teams, broadcasters and competition officials to travel here.

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If matches do go ahead in Dublin, the Departments of Health and Sport will need to engage on whether to provide an exemption for arrivals from category two high-risk countries from mandatory hotel quarantine.

The memo also says that the Department of Sport is continuing to work on a business case for Ireland’s involvement in a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


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