German minister slams ‘utterly irresponsible’ UEFA for allowing 40,000 into Wembley for England match during COVID
Interior minister Horst Seehofer condemned the decision as ‘absolutely irresponsible’ and suggested that UEFA’s position was motivated by money.
England defeated Germany 2-0 in Tuesday’s match which was attended by 41,973 spectators – the biggest in Britain since the pandemic began.
41,973 spectators attended Tuesday’s match to witness England defeat Germany 2-0 in the Euro 2020 round of 16
Horst Seehofer condemned UEFA’s decision to allow larger crowds as irresponsible and accused the European football governing body of being motivated by money
The minister, who is also responsible for sport, appealed to UEFA ‘not to push this off on local health authorities’ and said the governing body of European football should say ‘we don’t want it this way and we’re reducing the numbers of spectators’.
With COVID-19 restrictions varying from nation-to-nation, crowd sizes have ranged from completely full, such as 60,000 in Budapest, to 25-45 percent capacity in other venues where there have often been around 10-15,000 spectators.
Only 14,500 fans have been allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches in Munich and all were required to wear masks, keep their distance and upload a negative COVID-19 test into an app.
Seehofer said a match with 60,000 spectators – such as Hungary’s Puskas Arena and also planned for the semi-finals and final at London’s Wembley stadium – would inevitably promote the spread of COVID-19.
UEFA has said that it is ‘fully aligned’ with local health authorities’ guidance at every venue.
‘The final decisions with regards to the number of fans attending matches and the entry requirements to any of the host countries and host stadiums fall under the responsibility of the competent local authorities, and UEFA strictly follows any such measures,’ it said.
Some games at Euro 2020 have allowed up to 60,000 spectators into the stadium
Scotland’s health authority said earlier this week that 1,991 people had been identified as attending a Euro 2020 event while infectious, of whom 1,294 had travelled to London and 397 gone to Wembley where England played Scotland.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also weighed in on Thursday, saying crowds at Euro 2020 football stadiums and in pubs and bars in host cities were driving an infection rise.
But UEFA’s Euro 2020 medical advisor Daniel Koch said vaccinations and border controls would prevent a big new wave.
‘It cannot be totally excluded that events and gatherings could ultimately lead to some local increase in the number of cases,’ he said.
‘But this would not only apply to football matches but also to any kind of situations that are now allowed as part of the easing measures decided by the competent local authorities.’