Euro 2020 gets under way on Friday – and what was already going to be a unique tournament will be notable for several other reasons too.
The competition keeps its name even though it was delayed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will now run from 11 June to 11 July 2021 across 11 countries, separated by 4,766km.
It is a first major men’s tournament for Scotland since 1998, while England could have home advantage in nearly every game and Wales are at their second Euros in a row.
England and Scotland, who are in the same group, are two of the host countries in the first European Championship to be held across the continent.
They will be the first major men’s tournament games held in the UK since Euro 1996.
With Wembley hosting group games, a last-16 tie, both semi-finals and the final, England would only have to play one match abroad if they win their group and go all the way.
Wales are also among the 24 teams, although they do not host any games.
Will there be crowds?
There should be fans at all 51 games.
Dublin’s games were moved to St Petersburg and London, cities already hosting games, and Bilbao’s matches were switched to Seville – because neither city would guarantee allowing fans into their stadiums.
The biggest crowds could be at the 68,000-seater Puskas Arena in Budapest – which is planning to be at 100% capacity.
Wembley Stadium and Hampden Park are planning to be at about 25% capacity – 22,500 and 12,000 respectively.
Wembley, which is hosting both semi-finals and finals, could host more fans as the tournament goes on. A full house of 90,000 has not yet been ruled out for the final if Covid restrictions are lifted on 21 June.
Elsewhere, St Petersburg and Baku will have capacities of 50%, with the other cities – Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Munich, Rome and Seville – somewhere between 22% and 45%.
The decision on how many fans could attend was made by the individual regions/countries and not Uefa.
There is no block exemption to international travel or quarantine rules for match-ticket holders (although some countries are making exceptions), meaning supporters must obey the existing rules.
What other controversies have surrounded the Euros?
From Seville in the west of the continent to Baku 4,766km away in the east, significant amounts of air travel will be involved at Euro 2020 – both for players and the thousands of fans wanting to watch their team.
Covid restrictions mean the volume of air traffic will be far lower than one initial estimate of an extra two million plane trips during the tournament, but it will still be significant.
Switzerland fans could have to travel over 20,000km – with three trips to Baku and back to central or western Europe in between.
Andrew Simms, Rapid Transition Alliance co-ordinator and co-director of New Weather Institute, said: “It’s almost like going out and saying: How can we design a competition to maximise our environmental impact?”
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