Health secretary Matt Hancock says reports that the UK could step in to host the European Championships this summer are “not right”.
The Sunday Times claims Britain’s ready to step in, with ministers planning to let fans back into stadiums by the end of May.
Despite the pandemic, the tournament is still due to be held in 12 cities and countries across the continent, with London’s Wembley Stadium already scheduled to host the semi-finals and final, along with group matches and a round of 16 tie. Glasgow’s Hampden Park will also host games.
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According to the report, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden has told European football’s governing body that the UK’s on course to have crowds back in before most other countries which will be hosting the event, after the Government announced on Sunday that every adult should be offered a first Covid-19 vaccine dose by at least the end of July.
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to announce his so-called ‘roadmap’ out of England’s lockdown on Monday, the paper says if the UK is asked to stage more fixtures, ministers would “respond positively”.
However, one of the most senior members of the cabinet appeared to dismiss the story.
“I haven’t seen anything on that. I understand that’s not right”, Hancock told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
The tournament is due to start in Rome on 11 June, before it closes at Wembley exactly a month later.
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