One thousand supporters from Italy will be flown to the UK this weekend to provide an officially sanctioned Azzurri chorus for the Euro 2020 final against England.
While local fans accept a historic semi-final victory and offer thousands of pounds to strangers on the internet in hopes of entering Wembley on Sunday night, the UK government has relaxed the rules for a small number of traveling fans. and twice as many VIPs, which means they can attend the match without the Covid quarantine.
The Italian soccer federation will distribute 1,000 tickets at 610 euros (£ 525) per head to fans desperate to attend. The terms and conditions require fans to travel in and out of the UK on Sundays. They will remain in a bubble, guarded and segregated at all times, without contact with the general public, and will have to be quarantined for five days upon their return to Italy.
The deal on tickets was reached this week by the UK government and UEFA, and comes just days after England fans were forced to give up their tickets to the quarterfinals against Ukraine in Rome when Italian authorities insisted on maintaining quarantine rules.
Rules for VIPs will be more flexible, with a “limited cohort” spending the entire week in London and those attending matches will be able to stay in designated hotels and travel by designated private transport. VIPs are expected to remain isolated when not attending official Euro 2020 events.
Concerns have been raised again that euros could be driving a surge in Covid cases, after the release on Thursday of the latest React study on infections in England showed a sharp rise in cases among young men.
“We saw the same in Scotland around the Euros and the visits to Wembley and the games in Glasgow. It’s clearly not just about going to the game, but about going to the pub, being very close, “Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React program at the Imperial School of Public Health, told Sky News. “Again it comes down to this social distancing.”
Despite Covid concerns, there will be no shortage of people looking for the opportunity to experience one of the most important moments in English football history in person.
An estimated 67,000 crowd, though often looking much larger, were able to enter Wembley for England’s overtime win over Denmark on Wednesday night. A similar number is expected for the final, with government and FA sources denying reports that the stadium could be restored to its full capacity of 90,000.
For those desperate to watch the game, the options are limited. Each of the national associations receives an allocation of 16% of the tickets of the day to distribute among registered fans. By the semi-final, that amounted to around 8,500 apiece, and Denmark sold out despite having to limit tickets to fans residing in the UK.
Italian authorities are now repeating the process, which is unlikely to take long given an estimated 250,000 people born in Italy now live in the UK. On Thursday, the Italian embassy in London tweeted: “We will hurry to @Wembley stadium Sunday night to support our #azzurri # FinalEuro2020. “
The English assignment will also be quickly taken over by the England Supporters Travel Club. That leaves other fans updating UEFA’s online ticket portal in hopes of finding a returned ticket.
The other option is to lurk on social media, where purported tickets to the final are offered at prices starting at over £ 3,000. The number of legitimate offers remains a cause for concern, as a @wembleytickets Twitter account was created solely to list the alleged “scammers” on the site.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism