Spectator ban could see Ireland lose European Championship games

Uefa is seeking a commitment by April 7th to a goal of allowing stadiums to be 25 per cent full
Spectator ban could see Ireland lose European Championship games

Ireland’s ban on spectators at sporting events could see it lose the right to host four European Championship games in Dublin this year.

The Irish Times reports that Ministers will be warned at Cabinet today that Uefa, European football’s governing body, is seeking assurances that a minimum number of fans will be permitted to attend the games set for June.

The body is seeking a commitment by April 7th to a goal of allowing stadiums to be 25 per cent full, but Ireland is understood not to be in a position to commit to that level of attendance.

Uefa is also understood to be seeking variations on social distancing requirements, such as a decrease in the two-metre stipulation.

Preparations continuing

As a consequence, Ireland could face losing the rights to hold the delayed championship games involving Poland, Sweden and Slovakia and another second-round match to be played in Lansdowne Road.

However, sources say the Government is continuing to work with Uefa to see if alternative arrangements could be put in place, and preparations are continuing to be made for the games to be held either with spectators or behind closed doors.

It is understood that officials working in the Department of Sport have argued that Ireland has put on a range of major sports events over the last year without spectators.

The cancellation of the games would involve significant logistical challenges for the teams concerned and for Uefa, which might prove a disincentive to cancelling.

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