British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said supporters should back England enthusiastically but responsibly this week, when asked the risk posed by fans heading to venues to support the soccer team in the team’s European Championship semi-final.
Asked at a news conference on Monday (July 5) whether it could risk COVID-19 ‘super spreader’ events, Johnson replied: “My advice to everybody would be to obviously support England, enthusiastically but in a responsible way.”
The Chief Scientific Advisor to the government, Patrick Vallance, added that indoor events were of a greater risk of becoming super-spreader events. Supporters have been watching the England matches at indoor and outdoor venues around the country.
Last week, Euro 2020 was blamed for a surge in coronavirus cases as fans have flocked to stadiums, bars and spectator zones across Europe to watch the action while the pandemic still raged.
Germany’s interior minister called European soccer’s governing body UEFA “utterly irresponsible” for allowing big crowds at the tournament.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the mixing of crowds in Euro 2020 host cities, travel and easing of social restrictions had driven up the number of new cases by 10%.
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.
Wembley Stadium will welcome 60,000 fans to each of the semi-finals on July 6 and 7 as well as the final on July 11.
The German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said matches with 60,000 spectators would inevitably promote the spread of COVID-19.
In response, UEFA’s Euro 2020 medical advisor Daniel Koch said vaccinations and border controls would prevent a big new wave.
Events and gatherings could lead to some increase in the number of cases, he said, but this would apply to all sorts of other situations, not just soccer.