Uefa VIPs attending Euros could still face fines for Covid rule breaches – No 10

Talks are continuing to thrash out the final details allowing quarantine-free travel for officials from European football’s ruling body.

Czech Republic v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Group D – Wembley Stadium
Czech Republic v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Group D – Wembley Stadium

Uefa officials could face fines if they breach coronavirus rules while visiting England for the closing stages of Euro 2020.

Final details are still being worked out to decide what measures will be in place for VIPs such as officials, politicians, sponsors and broadcasters to come into the UK without having to quarantine for the end of the tournament.

Downing Street said fixed penalty notices could be issued for breaches of the rules.

Uefa, European football’s ruling body, is thought to be pushing for 2,500 guests to attend the competition’s final on July 11 without having to comply with the usual border restrictions.

Wembley stadium is hosting two semi-finals and the final in July.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said discussions were still under way with Uefa and Public Health England (PHE) over the “final detail”, but the Government would not do anything that “compromises the safety of the public”.

“Those who are eligible to come will be subject to a strict code of conduct and you can expect that to include daily testing, staying in designated hotels, use of designated private transport and compliance with all other Covid restrictions, including social distancing, face coverings, and test, trace and isolation.”

Asked if they would face fines if these rules were breached, he said: “We’re updating on that… any breaches of restrictions would result in fixed penalty notice fines.”

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said the law had already been changed to allow officials invited to Euro 2020 events by the Football Association to be given an exemption.

“Basically, anyone who falls within these categories is exempt from both the requirement to self-isolate and the hotel quarantine rules,” he said.

Downing Street did not rule out the prospect of international fans being able to attend Euros matches without having to follow quarantine rules.

Asked about the prospect, the PM’s spokesman said “the rules for inbound travel are set out”.

“Following the discussions with Uefa and PHE, we will set out the full detail.”

Culture minister John Whittingdale said a “special dispensation” was in place to allow the tournament to go ahead.

The Times reported that VIPs are expected to fly in and out of the country on the same day, or stay overnight in hotels block-booked for the tournament.

Questioned over plans on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Whittingdale said: “This is something we have been in discussion with Uefa about.

“We’ve always been clear that we were keen to host tournaments in the UK and therefore, obviously, we’ve had to make special dispensation already for team members and people closely associated with teams.

“Uefa are keen that more people associated with each country should be allowed to come, so we’ve been in discussion with them about that.

“Every decision we take is on the basis of the scientific advice and we will do nothing to put public health at risk.”

The minister said people attending the tournament were “not allowed to just go on a tour of Britain whilst they’re here”.

“They come in, they stay in a designated place, they attend the match, and then they leave,” he said.

The Government announced on Tuesday that more than 60,000 football fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final at Wembley if they have a negative Covid-19 test or prove they are double-vaccinated.

Moves to secure the prestigious final stages of the tournament for Wembley came after reports the showpiece could be moved to Budapest.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi also said that Rome could provide an alternative venue.

In a statement, Uefa said: “Uefa, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 in Wembley, and there are no plans to change the venue for those games.”

British travellers continue to face restrictions over taking holidays abroad and Labour’s John Healey said any agreement for Uefa would be “one rule for important people… and one rule for the rest”.

The shadow defence secretary said it would be “wrong, and too much of what we’ve seen from this Government”.

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