Football

Taoiseach Micheál Martin Slams UEFA For Euro 2020 Spectator Stance

Taoiseach Micheál Martin Slams UEFA For Euro 2020 Spectator Stance

While it was expected, there was still plenty of disappointment with the news that Ireland will not be hosting Euro 2020 games this summer.

Ireland is the only one of the 12 countries involved that has lost the games it was due to host, with every other nation able to give UEFA assurances over supporters being allowed to attend games.

The governing body of European football sought assurances that stadiums would allow crowds of at least 25% capacity, something the Irish Government would not provide.

As we discussed earlier in the week, the nation that has been subjected to the longest lockdown in Europe being behind our neighbours in this regard is something that should be questioned.

Regardless, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has come out swinging against any criticism.

Speaking on The Week in Politics, he has slammed the attitude of UEFA for demanding a minimum number of spectators be allowed to attend games.

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I thought UEFA were out of order frankly, putting those conditions on countries.

If you look at what's happening all over Europe in terms of the B117 and the high level of incidence in EU state member countries.

To be putting obligations on countries to force spectators in, prematurely in my view, was a wrong call by the footballing authorities. I never thought it was a realistic proposition if I'm honest.

I think we need to learn from previous experiences. Lets move solidly, as we have in April.

It's difficult for people, I understand that. I want to be at a match, there is nothing I would love more than to be at a club championship during the summer. That may happen towards the end of the summer.

We will look at all those things. We're not going too far ahead of ourselves either.

We will give an announcement next week in terms of May, some indications in terms of June like I have already in terms of hotels, B&Bs, and guest houses. We will take advice as well and weigh it up.

Spectators are slowly starting to return to sports around the world.

Most teams in America's major leagues are now welcoming sizeable crowds to their games, while Premier League clubs will also allow fans back for two sets of fixtures next month.

However, Ireland's slow vaccine rollout means we are likely to be some way off following suit. At this rate, it could well be 2022 before we see any sort of decent attendances at games, by which stage many people will not have seen any live sport in two years.

SEE ALSO: How Can Ireland Be The Only Country Incapable Of Hosting Euro 2020?

Gary Connaughton

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