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Euro 2020: UEFA cancels Rome quarter final tickets sold to UK-based England fans

European football's governing body UEFA has cancelled all tickets sold to UK-resident England fans for the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine in Rome this weekend, amid concern some may travel to Italy despite Covid-19 quarantine rules.

Euro 2020: UEFA cancels Rome quarter final tickets sold to UK-based England fans
Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Since June 18th, all arrivals from the UK have had to quarantine for five days and take two coronavirus tests under Italian health restrictions.

To stop people from attempting to make the trip regardless, “a specific ticketing policy has been put in place” for Saturday’s last eight tie, the Italian interior ministry said in a statement.

READ ALSO: ‘No exceptions’: Italy and UK warn England fans against travel to Rome for Euro quarter final

UEFA, at the behest of Italian authorities, blocked the sale and transfer of tickets from Thursday night, and also cancelled tickets sold to UK residents from midnight on Monday.

The number of blocked or cancelled tickets was not given.

 England’s governing Football Association (FA) was entitled to a ticket allocation of 2,560, equating to 16 percent of the permitted capacity of 16,000 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Andrea Costa, Italian undersecretary of state for health, repeated on Thursday that any person arriving from Britain would face five days of quarantine.

“That will not allow fans who have left over the last couple of days to come and see the match,” he told Radio Capital.

“We’ll be vigilant on this quarantine, we’re not talking about a big number so the checks will not be difficult.”

The English FA has said it was working with UEFA and the British embassy in Rome to “facilitate” ticket sales to England fans resident in Italy.

But the British Embassy in Rome confirmed to The Local that it “is not selling or distributing tickets for the match on Saturday in Rome”.

The confusion on Wednesday left Italy-based England fans scrambling to find out where they could buy tickets.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

British government advice is fans should not travel to Italy, an “amber list” country requiring 10 days of self-isolation upon return.

The UK is experiencing a surge in new coronavirus cases, blamed on the Delta variant that was first detected in India.

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FOOTBALL

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players’ ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome

Italy’s national football team reportedly insisted on taking an open-top bus tour through Rome to show off their European Championship trophy to crowds of fans - despite city authorities forbidding it amid concern about the spread of coronavirus.

Euro 2020: Concern about virus spread after Italy players' ‘unauthorised’ victory parade through Rome
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The team’s bus parade through the city on Monday night following their Euro 2020 triumph “was not authorised”, according to Matteo Piantedosi the head of Rome’s prefettura (the public safety authority).

Thousands of fans packed the streets of central Rome to see the team celebrate their cup win after beating England on penalties in the final.

READ ALSO: ‘Football came home’: Italy celebrates Euro 2020 victory over England

Piantedosi told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday: “We had denied permission to celebrate Italy’s victory in the European Championships on the open bus, but the pact was not respected.”

Piantedosi, who is Rome’s top public security official, said police had “no choice” but to let the parade go ahead after players Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci insisted on it.

Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP

A meeting had been held on Friday with the Italian football federation (FIGC) to discuss plans for the celebrations if Italy won, said Piantedosi.

“I had agreed the line with Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Chief of Police Lamberto Giannini,” he said.

“It was clearly explained that [the parade] was not possible. We said we could not authorize it.”

Piantedosi said the Italian football federation (FIGC) initially agreed to hold a “controlled” ceremony in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo instead of the parade.

After players insisted on the bus tour on Monday however, Piantedosi said, authorities reluctantly let them go ahead due to fears of sparking public disorder.

“At that point we had no choice but to acknowledge the situation and handle it in the best way we could,” he said.

READ ALSO: Covid cases on the rise in Europe once again as WHO warns of Euro 2020 risk

Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

In a statement on Wednesday, the FIGC said it had acted responsibly but decided not to disappoint fans who had come to celebrate with the team.

Footage of large crowds thronging the bus carrying the ‘Azzurri’ and the European Championship trophy through the capital however fuelled concerns about new outbreaks of coronavirus, after Italy’s infection rate began to rise again last week.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this month that crowds and gatherings connected to football matches will fuel a new rise in cases across Europe this summer.

READ ALSO: Delta variant in Italy will be ‘prevalent within 10 days’: health official

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza also voiced concerns on Monday about the consequences of people gathering to watch sporting events.

He said the European football championship win was “a great joy after terrible months,” but “even in these moments of national pride we can’t forget that our ‘game’ to defeat Covid is not yet won.”

There are currently minimal health restrictions in place across Italy, however masks are supposed to be worn in crowded public places, including outdoors.

“Footage shows that police were virtually the only ones [in the crowd] wearing masks,” said Piantedosi.

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