GLASGOW AND DUBLIN RISK LOSING EURO HOSTING
With UEFA adamant that their original hosting plan for the delayed European Championships is to stay in place, soon some difficult decisions will have to be made and this could mean bad news for two of the original twelve locations.
None more so than Glasgow and its Hampden Park Stadium and with the home of Scottish football set to stage four of the upcoming tournament fixtures, their ability to throw such a party has been called into question.
That’s because although the UK is seemingly accelerating through its COVID-19 vaccination programme, there is still an element of apprehension from the Scottish government and most importantly, from its First Minister.
While although Nicola Sturgeon certainly has a lot on her plate at present, as she deals with calls to stand down, the leader of SNP will also have a summer of football in her inbox and soon she will have to decide whether UEFA can pitch up in Glasgow.
Because even though the relaxation of restrictions is on the horizon within Scotland, there is an overgrowing sense or perhaps even overwhelming fear that Euro 2020 may come around just that little too soon.
Especially as UEFA are looking to make a final decision by early April and they can only plan accordingly, once they have received feedback from all those nations that were initially aiming to stage fixtures.
Because although the likelihood is that Scotland will be ready to party by June, their powers that be are wanting to decide on hosting much nearer the time and are unwilling to make a snap judgement by the end of the month.
This creates a scenario of brinkmanship for all involved and if the First Minister and her team of health experts are unwilling to blink, then UEFA will have no other choice but to remove all four fixtures from Hampden Park.
Of course, this is against the backdrop of an improving situation within the UK and with the Republic of Ireland not quite sharing the same level of current coronavirus optimism, it means that the Aviva Stadium’s plans are also at risk.
Just as in Scotland, the Irish governments are yet to provide assurances to UEFA and with perhaps an even larger element of risk aversion forming across the waters, these matches seem at an even greater threat of removal.
Which means European football’s governing body may well have to engineer a backup plan and with England reportedly ready to take on more of a burden, this may well be the ideal halfway house to a previously mooted alternative.
If Aleksander Ceferin and his cohorts still want to throw a cross-continental shindig, then England’s hopes of staging the whole of Euro 2020 will be dashed. However, the logical suggestion would be to take on Scotland and Ireland’s responsibility if required.
While although Wembley may be able to take on whatever quota, this may also be the perfect opportunity to share the wealth and if that proves to be the case, then the North of England may be able to bask in some European splendour across June and July.